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No. 94 Covaaass Stbxit. 


. AZ 


It is now twenty years since there sprung up in the 
United States an earnest and at times a vehement discus- 
sion, of the nature and effect of the bond entered into by 
those citizens who join the society of Free and Accepted 
Masons. The excitement which arose in consequence 
of the disclosures then made, had the effect, at least for a 
time, if not permanently, to check the further spread of that 
association. The legislative power of some of the States' 
was invoked, and at last actually interposed, to prevent the 
administration of extra-judicial oaths, including of course 
all such as were constantly taken in the Masonic Ordec^ 
This was the furthest point which the opposition ever\ 
reached. It did not succeed in procuring the dissolution ' 
of the organization of the Order, or even the repeal of the 
charters under which it had a recognized existence in the 
social system. From the moment of the adoption of a 
penal law, deemed strong enough to meet the most serious 
of the evils complained of, the apprehension of further 
danger from Masonry began to subside. At this day, the 
subject has ceased to be talked of. The attention of men~^ 
has been gradually diverted to other things, until at last it 
may be said, that few persons are aware of the fact, pro- 
vided it be not especially forced upon their notice, that 
not only Freemasonry continues to exist, but also, that 


other associations partaking of its secret nature, if not of 
its unjustifiable obligations, not merely live, but greatly 
flourish in the midst of them. 

Fully aware of this state of things, a few private citi- 
zens who deeply interested themselves in the investigation 
of the subject when first agitated, yet feel as if their duty 
was not entirely performed so long as they shall have left 
undone any act which in their estimation may have the 
effect of keeping up among their countrymen a vigilant 
observation of the nature and tendency of secret associa- 
tions. Without cherishing the remotest desire, even if 
they could be supposed to entertain the expectation, of 
reviving an old excitement, they are nevertheless most 
anxious to put in a permanently accessible shape, some 
clear and strong exposition of tho evil attending similar 
ties, a8jhAt..e£iL-was illustrat-ed years ago in an examina- 
tion of t he Freema son's Oath. Such an exposition they 
knew could be found~ ih"the Writings of the Honorable 
John duincy Adams. But although the various papers in 
which it was first issued to the public enjoyed an extensive 
circulation at the period when it was written, and without 
doubt contributed much to the establishment of an im- 
proved state of popular opinion, they are believed never to 
have been collected together in any one form readily open 
to the public examination. This great deficiency, it seemed 
to the gentlemen who have been already alluded to, a 
desirable object to supply. They accordingly undertook 
the task of publishing the present volume, not as a matter 
of sale, but solely with the intention of gratuitous distri- 
bution. And first of all, they deemed it no more than 
proper to communicate with Mr. Adams himself, and to 
get his opinion upon the subject. That gentleman very 
cheerfully consented to aid the effort, not only by supply- 
ing some entirely new documents, which have never 
before been printed, but also by promising a recapitulation 

of his views in the shape of an Introductory Essay. The 
execution of this last engagement has, however, been pre- 
vented by the late much regretted illness which has befal- 
len him. The task of preparing a preface has, by this 
unexpected event, been made to fall into other hands, by 
which it must be fulfilled in a far less comprehensive and 
satisfactory manner than it would have been by him. 

The Institution of Masonry was introduced into the 
British Colonies of North America more than a hundred 
years ago. It went on slowly at first, but from the time 
of the Revolution it spread more rapidly, until in the first 
quarter of the present century it had succeeded in winding 
itself through all the departments of the body politic in the 
United States, and in claiming the sanction of many of the 
country's most distinguislied men. Up to the year 1S26, 
nothing occurred to mar its progress or to interpose the 
smallest obstacle to its triumphant success. So great had 
then become the confidence of the members in its power, 
as to prompt the loud tone of gratulation in which some 
of its orators then indulged at their public festivals, and 
cunong these none spoke more boldly than Mr. Brainard, 
in the passage which will be found * quoted in the present 
volume. He announced that Masonry was exercising it« 
influence in the sacred desk, in the legislative hali and on 
the bench of justice, but so little had the public attention 
been directed to the truth he uttered, that the declaration 
passed off, and was set down by the uninitiated rather as 
a dower of rhetoric with which young speakers will some- 
times magnify their topic, than as entitled to any particu- 
larly serious notice. Neither would these memorable 
words have been rescued from oblivion, if it had not 
happened that the very next year after they were uttered 
was destined to furnish a most extraordinary illustration 
of their significance. 

• Page 2S& 


In a small town situated in the western part of the Stata 
of New York, an event occurred in the autumn of the 
year 1826, which roused the suspicions first of the people 
living in the immediate neighborhood, and afterwards of 
a very wide circle of persons throughout the United States. 
A citizen of Batavia suddenly disappeared from his family ^ 
without giving the slightest warning. Rumors were 
immediately circulated that he had run away; but there 
were circumstances attending the act which favored the 
idea that personal violence had been resorted to, although 
the precise authors of it could not be distinctly traced. 
The name of the citizen who thus vanished as if the earth 
had opened and swallowed him from sight, was William 
Morgan. He had been a man of little consideration in 
the place, in which he had been but a short time resident 
Without wealth, for he was compelled to labor for the 
support of a young wife and two infant children, and 
without influence of any kind, it seemed as if there could 
be nothing in the history or the pursuits of the individual 
to make him a shining mark of persecution, on any 
account. So unreasonable, if not absurd, did the notion 
of the forcible abduction of such a man appear, that it was 
at first met with a cold smile of utter incredulity. Among 
the floating population of a newly settled country, the 
single fact of the departure of persons having few ties to 
bind them to any particular spot, would scarcely cause 
remark or lead to inquiry. Numbers, when first called to 
express an opinion in the case of Morgan, at once jumped 
to the conclusioh that he had voluntarily fled to parts 
unknown. So natural was the inference that even to this 
day, many who have never taken any trouble to look into 
the evidence, are impressed with a vague notion that it is 
the proper solution of the difllculty. In ordinary circum- 
stances the thing might have passed off as a nine days' 
wonder, and in a month's time the name of Morgan might 


hare been foi^tten in Batavia, had it not been for a single 
doe which was left behind him, and which, at first fol- 
lowed up from curiosityi soon excited wonder, and from 
this led to astonishment at the nature of the discove- 
ries that ensued. 

The sing^ clue which ultimately unwound the tangled 
akein of evidence was this. The sole act of Morgan, 
whilst dwelling in Batavia, which formed any exception 
to the ordinary habits of men in his walk of life, was an 
mdertaking into which he entered, in partnership with 
another person, to print and publish a book. This book 
promised to contain a true account of certain ceremonies 
and secret obligations taken by those who joined the 
society of Freemasons. The simple announcement of the 
intention to print this work was known to have been re* 
oeived by many of the persons in the vicinity, acknowledged 
brethren of the Order, with signs of the most lively indig- 
nation. And as the thing went on to execution, so many 
efforts were made to interrupt and to prevent it, even at 
the hazard of much violence, that soon after the disappear- 
ance of the prime mover of the plan, doubts began to 
spread in the community, whether there was not some 
connection, in the way of cause and effect, between the 
proposed publication and that event Circumstances rap- 
idly confirmed suspicion into belief, and belief into cer- 
tainty. At first the attention was concentrated upon the 
individuals of the fraternity discovered to have been 
concerned in the taking off. It afterwards spread itself 
so far as to embrace the action of the Lodges of the region 
in which the deed was done. But such was the amount of 
resistance experienced to efforts made to ferret out the 
perpetrators and bring them to justice, that ultimately the 
whole organization of the Order became involved in re- 
qionsibility for the misdeeds of its members. The oppo- 
siiiim made to investigation only stimulated the passion to 

investigate. Unexampled efforts were made to enlist the^ 
whole power of the social system in the pursuit of the 
kidnappers, which were as steadily baffled by the superior 
activity of the Masonic power. In time, it became plain, 
that the only effectual course would be, to go if possible 
to the root of the evil, and to attack Masonry in its very 
citadel of secret obligations. 

The labor expended in the endeavor to suppress the 
publication of Morgan's book, proved to have been lost. 
It came out just at the moment when the disappearance of 
its author was most calculated to rouse the public curiosity 
to its contents. On examination, it was found to contain 
what purported to be the forms of Oaths taken by those who 
were admitted to the first three degrees of Masonry, — the 
Entered Apprentice's, the Fellow Craft's and the Master 
Mason's. If they really were what they pretended to be, 
then indeed was supplied a full explanation of the motives 
that might have led to Morgan's disappearance. But here 
was the first difficulty. Doubts were sedulously spread 
of their genuineness. Morgan's want of social character 
was used with effect to bring the whole volume into dis- 
credit. Neither is it perfectly certain that its revelations 
would have been ultimately established as true, had not a 
considerable number of the fraternity, stimulated by the 
consciousness of the error which they had committed, 
voluntarily assembled at Leroy, a town in the neigh* 
borhood of Batavia, and then and there, besides attesting 
the veracity of Morgan's book, renounced all further con- 
nection with the society. One or two of these persons 
subsequently made far more extended publications, in 
which they opened all the mysteries of the Royal Arch, 
and of the Knight Templar's libation, besides exposing in 
a clear light the whole complicated organization of the 
Institution. Upon these disclosures the popular excite- 
ment spread over a large part of the northern section of 


the Union. It crept into the political divisions of the 
time. A party sprang up almost with the celerity of 
magic, the end of whose exertions was to be the overthrow 
of Masonry. It soon carried before it all the power of 
Western New York. It spread into the neighboring 
States. It made its appearance in legislative assemblies, 
and there demanded full and earnest investigations, not 
merely of the circumstances attending the event which 
originated the excitement, but also of the nature of the 
obligations which Masons had been in the habit of assum- 
ing. Great as was the effort to resist this movement, and 
manifold the devices to escape the searching operation 
proposed, it was found impossible directly to stem the tide 
of popular opinion. Masons, who stubbornly adhered to 
the Order, were yet compelled under oath to give their 
reluctant testimony to the truth of the disclosures that 
had been made. The oaths of Masonry and the strange 
rites practised simultaneously with the assumption of 
them, were then found to be in substance what they had 
been affirmed to be. The veil that hid the mystery was 
rent in twain, and there stood the idol before the gaze 
of the multitude, in all the nakedness of its natural 

Strange though it may seem, it is nevertheless equally 
certain, that the most revolting features of the obligation, 
the pledges subversive of all moral distinctions, and the 
penalties for violating those pledges, were not those things 
which roused the roost general popular disapprobation. 
Here, as often before, the shield of private character, 
earned by a life and conversation without reproach, was 
interposed with effect to screen from censure men who 
protested that when they swore to keep secret the crimes 
which their brethren might have committed, provided 
they were revealed to them under the Masonic sign, they 
did nothing which they deemed inconsistent with their 

dories as ChrisftiaDs and as members of societf. It is the 
tendency of mankind to mix with all abstract reasoning, 
however pure and perfect, a great deal of the alloy of 
human authority, to harden its nature. Multitudes pre- 
ferred to believe the Masonic oaths and penalties to be 
ceremonies, childish, ridiculous and unmeaning, mther 
than to suppose them intrinsically and incurably vicious. 
They refused to credit the fact that men whom they 
respected as citizens could have made themselves parties 
to any promise whatsoever to do acts illegal, unjust 
and wicked. Rather than go so far, they preferred to 
throw themselves into a state of resolute unbelief of all 
that could be said against them. Hence the extraordinary 
resistance to all projects of examination, that great waU of 
brass which the conservative temper of society erects 
around acknowledged and time-hallowed abuses. Hence 
the determination to credit the assurances of interested 
witnesses, who seemed to have a character for veracity to 
support, rather than by pressing investigation, to under- 
mine the established edifice constructed by the world's 

Neither is there at bottonr any want of good sense in 
this sluggish mode of viewing all movements of reform. 
Agitation always portends more or less of risk to society, 
and tends to bring mere authority into contempt. It is 
therefore not without reason that those who value the 
security which they enjoy under existing institutions, hes- 
itate at adopting any rule of eonduet which may materially 
diminish it. Such hesitation i» visible under all forms of 
government, but it is no where more marked than in the 
United States, where the popular nature of the institutions 
makes the tendency to change at all times imminent. The 
misfortune attending this natural and pardonable conserva- 
tive instinct is, that it clings with indiscriminate tenacity 
to all that has been long established, the evil as well as the 

good, the abuses that have crept in equally with the use- 
ful and the true. It was just so in the case of Masonry. 
A large number of the most active and respected mem- 
bers of society had allowed themselves to become in- 
volved in its obligations, atul rather than voluntarily to 
confess the «rror they had committed, and to sanction the 
overthrow of the Institution by a decided act of surren- 
der, they preferred to support it upon the strength of their 
present character, and upon the combination of themselves 
and the friends whom they could influence to resist the 
assaults of a reforming and purifying power. Great as 
was the strength of this resistance, it could only partially 
succeed in accomplishing the object at which it aimed. 
The opposition made to the admission of a palpable 
moral truth, had its usual and natural effect to stimulate 
the efforts i>f those who were pressing it upon the public 
attention. Admitting in the fuUest extent jevery thing 
that could be said in behalf of many of the individuals, 
who as Masons became subjected to Xhe vehemence of 
the denunciations directed against the fraternity, it was 
yet a fact not a littfe startling, that even they should 
deem themselves so far bound by unlawful 4)bIigation8 as 
at no time to be ready to signify the smallest disappro- 
bation of their character, not even after the fact was 
proved how much of evil they had caused. After the 
disclosures of the Morgan history, it was no longer pos- 
sible to pretend that the pledges were not actually con- 
strued in the sense which the language plainly conveyed. 
That after admitting the possibility of such a construction, 
the association which for one moment longer should give 
it countenance, made itself responsible for all the crime 
which might become the fruit of it, cannot be denied. 
Tet this reasoning did not appear to have the weight to 
which it was fairly entitled, in deterring the respectable 
members of xhe society from giving it their aid and 


coantenance. DeWitt Clinton still remained Grand Mas- 
ter of the Order after he had reason to know the extent 
to which it had made itself accessory to the Morgan 
murder. Edward Livingston was not ashamed publicly 
to declare his acceptance of the same office, althoQgh the 
chain of evidence which traced that crime to the Masonic 
oath had then been made completely visible to all. When 
the authority of such names as these was invoked with 
success, to shelter the association from the effect of its 
own system, it seemed to become an imperative duty on 
the part of those whose attention had been aroused to the 
subject, to look beyond the barrier of authority so sed* 
ulously erected in order to keep them out, to probe by a 
searching analytic process the moral elements upon which 
the Institution claimed to rest, and to concentrate the rays 
of truth and right reason upon those corrupt principles, 
which if not effectively counteracted, seemed to threaten 
the very foundations of justice in the social and moral 
system of America. 

It was the province here marked out which Mr. Adams 
voluntarily assumed to fill when he addressed to Colonel 
William L. Stone that series of letters upon the Entered 
Apprentice's Oath, which will be found to make a part of 
the present volume. Although this obligation may be 
considered as constituting the lowest story and least com- 
manding portion of the edifice of Freemasonry, yet he 
singled it out for examination as the fairest test by which 
he could try the merits of all that has been built above it. 
If that first and simplest step proved untenable, it followed 
as a matter of course, that no later or more difficult one 
could fare a whit better. Of the result of the investi- 
gation thus entered into, it is thought that no difference of 
opinion can now be entertained. No answer worthy of a 
moment's consideration was ever made. It is confidently 
believed that none is possible. As a specimen of rigid 


moral aDalysis, the letters must ever remain, not simply 
as evincing the peculiar powers of the author's mind, but 
alao as a standing testimony against the radical vice of the 
secret Institution against which they were directed. 

When the books of Morgan, and Allyn, and Bernard, 
the admissions of Cc lonel Stone and of the Rhode Island 
legislative investigation, had left little of the mysteries of 
Freemasonry unseen by the public eye, the impressions 
derived from observation were curious and contradictory. 
Upon the first hasty and superficial glance, a feeling might 
arise of surprise that the frivolity of its unmeaning cere- 
monial, and the ridiculous substitution of its fictions for 
the sacred history, should not have long ago discredited 
the thing in the minds of good and sensible men every 
where. Yet upon a closer and more attentive examina- 
tion, this first feeling vanishes, and makes way for aston- 
ishment at the ingenious contrivance displayed in the 
construction of the whole machine. A more perfect 
agent for the devising and execution of conspiracies 
against church or state could scarcely have been con- 
ceived. At the outer door stands the image of secrecy, 
stimulating the passion of curiosity. And the world 
which habitually takes the unknown to be sublime, could 
scarcely avoid inferring that the untold mysteries which 
were supposed to have been transmitted undivulged to 
any external ear, from generation to generation, must 
have in them some secret of power richly worth the 
knowing. Here was the temptation to enter the portal. 
But the unlucky wight, like him of the poet's hell, when 
once admitted within the door, was doomed at the same 
moment to leave behind him all hope or expectation of 
retreat. His mouth was immediately sealed by an obli- 
gation of secrecy, imposed with all the solemnity that can 
be borrowed from the use of the forms of religious wor- 
ship* Nothing was left undone to magnify the effect of the 


scene upon his imagination. High sounding titles, strange 
and startling modes of procedure, terrific pledges and 
imprecations, and last, though not least, the graduation of 
orders in an ascending scale, which like mirrors placed in 
long vistas, had the effect of expanding the apparent range 
of vision almost to infinitude, were all combined to rescue 
from ridicule and contempt the moment of discovery 
of the insignificant secret actually disclosed. Having 
thus been tempted by curiosity to advance, and being cut 
off by fear from retreat, there came last of all the appear* 
ance of a sufficient infusion of religious and moral and 
benevolent profession to furnish an ostensible cause for 
the construction of a system so ponderous and complicate. 
The language of the Old Testament, the history as 
well as the traditions of the Jews, and the resources of 
imagination, are indiscriminately drawn upon to deck out 
a progressive series of initiating ceremonies which would 
otherwise claim no attribute to save them from contempt. 
Ashamed and afraid to go backwards, the novice suffers 
his love of the marvellous, his dread of personal hazard, 
and his hope for more of the beautiful and the true than 
has yet been doled out to him, to lead him on until he 
finds himself crawling under the living arch, or com- 
mitting the folly of the fifth libation. He then too 
late discovers himself to have been fitting for the 
condition either of a dupe or of a conspirator. He has 
plunged himself needlessly into an abyss of obligations 
which, if they signify little, prove him to have been a 
fool ; and if, on the contrary, they signify much, prove 
him ready at a moment's warning, to make himself a 

Such is the impression of the Masonic Institution that 
must be gathered from all the expositions that have been 
lately made. Yet, strange though it may seem, there is no 
reason to doubt that the Society has had great success in 


enrolling numbers of persons in many countries among 
its members, and in keeping them generally faithful to the 
obligations which it imposed. This, if no other fact, 
would be sufficient to relieve the whole machine from the 
burden of ridicule it might otherwise be made to bear. 
Perhaps the strongest feature of the association is to be 
found in the pledge it imposes of mutual assistance in die* 
tress. On this account much merit has been claimed to 
it, and many stories have been circulated of the benefits 
which individuals have experienced in war, or in perils by 
sea and land, or in other disasters, by the ability to resort 
to the grand hailing sign. This argument, which has 
probably made more Freemasons than any other, would 
be good in its defence were it not for two objections. One 
of them is, that the pledge to assist is indiscriminate, 
making little or no difference between the good or bad 
nature of the actions to promote which a co-operation 
may be invoked. The other is, that the engagement im- 
plies a duty of preference of one member of society to 
the disadvantage of another who may be in all respects 
his superior. It establishes a standard of merit conflicting 
with that established by the Christian or the social system, 
either or both of which ought to be of paramount obliga- 
tion. And this injurious preference is the more dangerous 
because it may be carried on without the knowledge of 
the sufferers. The more scrupulously conscientious a 
citizen may be, who hesitates at taking an oath the nature 
of which he does not know beforehand, the more likely 
will he be to be kept down by the artificial advancement 
of others who may derive their advantage from a conning 
use of their more flexible sense of right. That these are 
not altogether imaginary objections, there is no small 
amount of actual evidence to prove. There has been a 
time, when resort to Masonry was regarded as eminently 
fiivocable to early success in life ; and there hare been 


men whose rapidity of personal and political advancement 
it would be difficult to explain by any other cause than 
this, that they have been generally understood to be bright 
Masons. Such a preference as is here supposed, can be 
justifiable only upon the supposition that Masonic merit 
and social merit rest on the same general foundation ; — a 
supposition which no person will be able to entertain for a 
moment after he shall have observed the scales which 
belong respectively to each. 

Another argument which has been effectively resorted 
to as an aid to Freemasonry, is drawn from its supposed 
antiquity. To give color to this notion, a very ingenious 
use has been made of much of the sacred history ; but it 
appears to have no solid foundation whatsoever. Whatever 
may have been the nature of the associations of Masons who 
built the gothic edifices of the middle ages, the investiga* 
tions entered into by those who opposed speculative Free- 
masonry sufficiently proved that the latter scarcely dates 
beyond the early part of the last century. The air of 
traditionary mystery like the mrugo on many a pretend- 
ed coin, has been artificially added to heighten its value 
to the curious. Yet such has been its effect, that this 
cause alone has probably contributed very largely to fill 
up the ranks of the Society. The rapidity of its growth 
during the period of its legitimate existence, is one of the 
most surprising circumstances attending its history. Origi- 
nating in Great Britain somewhere about the beginning 
of the eighteenth century, it soon ramified not only in that 
country, but into France and Germany ; it spread itself 
into the colonies of North America, and made its way to 
the confines of distant Asia. Although the seeds of the 
Institution were early planted in Boston and Charleston, 
they did not fructify largely until after the period of the 
Revolntion. The original form of Masonry was com* 
prised in what are now called the first three degrees— the 

entered apprentice, fellow craft and master — but during the 
first quarter of the present century, so thoroughly had the 
basis been laid over the entire surface of the United 
States, that the degrees have been multiplied more than 
tenfold, and in all directions the materials have been col- 
lected for a secret combination of the most formidable 
character. It was not until the history of Morgan laid 
open the consequences of the abuse of the system, that 
the public began to form a conception of the danger* 
ous fanaticism which it was cherishing in its bosom. 
Even then, the endeavor to apply effective remedies to the 
evil was met with the most energetic and concerted resis- 
tance, and the result of the struggle was by no means a 
decided victory to the opponents of the Institution. Free- 
masonry still lives and moves and has a being, even in 
New York and Massachusetts. And at the seat of the 
Federal government. Freemasonry at this moment claims 
and obtains the privilege of laying the corner-stone of the 
national institution created upon the endowment of Janies 
Smithson, for the purpose of increasing and diffusing 
knowledge among men. 

An obvious danger attending all associations of men 
connected by secret obligations, springs from their suscepti- 
bility to abuse in being converted into engines for the over- 
throw or the control of established governments. So soon 
was the apprehension of this excited in Europe by Free- 
masonry, that many of the absolute monarchies took early 
measures to guard against its spread within their limits. 
Rome, Naples, Portugal, Spain and Russia made participa- 
tion in it a capital offence. Other governments more cau- 
tiously confined themselves to efforts to control it by a rigid 
system of supervision. In Great Britain, the endeavor of 
government has been to neutralise its power to harm, by 
entering into it and by placing trust worthy members of the 
royal family at its head. Yet even with all these precau- 


tions and prohibitions, it is believed that in Prance at the 
period of the revolution, and in Italy within the present 
century, much of the insurrectionary spirit of the time 
was fostered, if not in Masonic Lodges, at least in associa- 
tions bearing a close affinity to them in all essential par- 
ticulars. With regard to the United States, there has 
thus far in their history been very little to justify any 
of the most serious objections which may be made 
against Masonry in connection with political affairs. 
Yet the events which followed the death of Morgan, first 
opened the public mind to the idea that already a secret 
influence pervaded all parts of the body politic, with 
which it was not very safe for an individual to come into 
conflict. The boast of Brainard, already alluded to, was 
now brought to mind. It was found to bias, if not to con- 
trol, the action of officers of justice of every grade, to 
affect the policy of legislative bodies, and even to para- 
lyze the energy of the executive head. This power, by 
gaining a greater appearance of magnitude from the mys- 
tery with which it was surrounded, was doubtless much 
exaggerated by the popular fancy during the period of the 
Morgan excitement ; but after making all proper allow- 
ances, it is impossible from a fair survey of the evidence 
to doubt that it was something real, and that it might, in 
course of time, have established an undisputed control over 
the affairs of the Union, bad not its progress been some- 
what roughly broken by the consequences of the violent 
movement against Morgan, which had its origin in the 
precipitate but fanatical energy of one division of the soci- 
ety. And even since the agitation of that day, there is 
the best reason for believing that throughout the region 
most affected by it, an organization was made up after 
the fashion of Masonic Lodges, the object of which was 
directly to stimulate a concerted insurrection against the 
governing power of a neighboring country, Canada, calcula- 


ted to give rise to a furious contest with a foreign nation, 
and to mature plans by which such an attempt could be 
most effectually aided by citizens of the United States 
in spite of all the national declarations of neutrality and in 
defiance of all the fulminations of government at home. 
But at the time of Morgan's mysterious disappearance, 
the investigations then pursued, imperfect as they were, 
and more than once completely baffled for the moment, 
brought forth the names of sixty-nine different individuals, 
many of them of great respectability of private character, 
who had been directly concerned in the outrages attend* 
ing his taking off. These sixty-nine persons were not 
living within a confined circle. They had their homes 
scattered along an extent of country of at least one hun* 
dred miles. That so many men, at so many separate 
points, should have acted in perfect concert in such a 
business as they were engaged in, would scarcely be 
believed, without compelling the inference of some dis- 
tinct understanding existing between them. That they 
should have carried into effect the most difficult part of 
their undertaking, a scheme of the most daring and crim- 
inal nature, in the midst of a large, intelligent and active 
population, without thereby incurring the risk of a full 
conviction of their guilt and the consequent punishment, 
would be equally incredible, but for the light furnished by 
the phraseology of the Masonic oath. The several forms 
of this oath, as shown to have been habitually administered 
in the first three degrees, will be found in the Appendix to 
the present volume. These, together with the ceremony 
attending the Royal Arch and the Knight Templar's obli- 
gation, have been deemed all of Masonry that is necessary 
to illustrate the letters of Mr. Adams. They are believed 
sufficient to account for the successful manner in which 
Morgan was spirited away. It is not deemed expedient to 
dwell here upon their nature, when it will be found fully 


analyzed in the body of the present volume. It is enough 
to point out the fact that obedience to the Order is the par- 
amount law of association ; that it makes every social, civil 
and moral duty a matter of secondary consideration ; that 
it draws few distinctions between the character of the acts 
that may be required to be done, and that it demands 
fidelity to guilt just the same as if it were the purest inno- 
cence. Every man who takes a Masonic oath, forbids 
himself from divulging any criminal act, unless it might 
be murder or treason, that may be communicated to him 
under the seal of the fraternal bond, even though such 
concealment were to prove a burden upon his conscience 
and a violation of his bounden duty to society and to his 
God. The best man in the world, put in this situation, 
may be compelled to take his election between peijury on 
the one side and sympathy with crime on the other. The 
worst man in the world put in this situation has it in his 
power to claim that the best shall degrade his moral sense 
down to the level of his own, by hearing from him, with- 
out resentment, revelations to which even listening may 
be a participation of dishonor. 

The facts attending the abduction of Morgan, not elicit- 
ed without the most extraordinary difficulty by subsequent 
investigation, have been so often published far and wide 
as to make it superfluous here to repeat them. It may be 
enough to state, that from the day when the partnership 
between Morgan and David C. Miller, a printer of Batavia, 
made for the purpose of publishing the " Illustrations of 
Masonry," was announced, no form of annoyance which 
could be expected to deter them from prosecuting their 
design, was left unattempted. The precise nature of 
these forms may be better understood, if we class them 
under general heads, until they took the ultimate shape 
of aggravated crime. 

1. Anonymous denunciation of the man Morgan, as an 

impostor, in newspapers published at Canandaigua, Bata"* 
▼ia and Black Rock, places at some distance from each 
other, but all within the limits of the region in which the 
subsequent acts of violence were committed. 

2. Abuse of the forms of law, by the hunting up of 
small debts or civil offences with which to carry on vexa- 
tious suits or prosecutions against the two persons hereto- 
fore named. 

3. The introduction of a spy into their counsels, and of 
a traitor to their confidence, employed for the purpose of 
betraying the manascripts of the proposed work to the 
Masonic Lodges, and thus of frustrating the entire 

4. Attempts to surprise the printing office by a concert- 
ed night attack of men gathered from various points, 
assembling at a specific rendezvous, the abode of a high 
member of the Order, and proceeding in order to the exe- 
cution of the object, which was the forcible seizure of the 
manuscripts and the destruction of the press used to 
print them. 

6. Efforts to get possession of the persons of the two 
offenders, by a resort to the processes of law, through the 
connivance and co-operation of officers of justice, them- 
selves Masons. These efforts failed in the case of Miller, 
but they succeeded against Morgan, and were the means 
by which all the subsequent movements were carried into 

6. The employment of an agent secretly to prepare 
materials for the combustion of the building which con- 
tained the printing materials known to be employed in the 
publication of the book, and to set them on fire. 

Such were the proceedings which were resorted to at 
the very outset of this conspiracy, and upon looking at 
them, it will be seen at a glance that the prosecution of 
them involved the commission of a variety of moral and 


social offences, the commission of which may be fairly 
inclfided within the literal injutection of the Masonic oath. 
Had the matter stopped here, it would have famished 
abundance of evidence to establish the dangerous charac- 
ter of a secret Institution, when its interests are deemed to 
conflict with those of individual citizens or of society at 
large. But what has thus far been compressed in the six 
preceding heads, appears as nothing when compared with 
the startling developments of the remainder of the story. 

On Sunday, of all the days in the week, the tenth of 
September, 1826, the coroner of the county of Ontario, 
himself Master of the Lodge at Canandaigua, applied to a 
Masonic justice of the peace of that town for a warrant to 
apprehend William Morgan, living fifty miles off at Batavia« 
The offence upon which the application was based was 
larceny, and the alleged larceny consisted in the neglect 
of Morgan to return a shirt and cravat that had been 
borrowed by him in the previous month of May. Armed 
with this implement of justice, which assumes in this con- 
nection the semblance of a dagger rather than of its ordi- 
nary attribute a sword, the coroner immediately proceeded 
in a carriage obtained at the public cost, to pick up at 
different stations along the road of fifty miles, ten Masonic 
brethren, including a constable, anxious and willing to 
share in avenging the insulted majesty of the law. At the 
tavern of James Ganson, six miles from Batavia, the same 
place which had been the head quarters of the night expe- 
dition against Miller's printing office, the party stopped for 
the night. Had that expedition proved successful, it is 
very probable that this one would have been abandoned. 
As it was, the failure acted as a stimulus to its further 
prosecution. Early next morning, five of the Masonic 
beagles, headed by the Masonic constable, having previ- 
ously procured a necessary endorsement of their writ to 
give it effect in the county of Genessee, from a Masonic 


justice of the peace, proceeded from Ganson's house to 
Batavia, where they succcfbded in seizing and securing the 
man guilty of the alleged enormity touching the borrowed 
shirt and cravat. A coach was again employed, the Ma- 
sonic party lost no time in securing their prey, and at 
about sunset of the same day with the arrest, that is, 
Monday the eleventh day of September, they got back to 
Canandaigua. The prisoner was immediately taken before 
the justice who had issued the warrant, the futility of the 
complaint was established, and Morgan was forthwith dis- 
charged. The case affords a striking illustration of the 
abuse of the remedial process of the law to the more 
secure commission of an offence against law. Morgan was 
free, it is true, but he was at a distance of fifty miles from 
home, alone and without friends, brought through the 
country with the stigma resulting from the suspicion of a 
criminal offence attached to him, and all without expense 
to the parties engaged in the undertaking, as well as 
without the smallest hazard of a rescue. 

It turned out that the person of whom the shirt and 
cravat had been originally borrowed, had never sought to 
instigate a prosecution for the offence. The idea origina- 
ted in the mind of the Masonic coroner himself. He had 
executed the plan of using the law to punish an offence of 
Masonry, to the extent to which it had now been carried. 
Morgan had been brought within the coil of the serpent, 
but he was not yet entirely at its mercy. Another abuse 
of legal forms yet remained to complete the operation. No 
sooner was the victim landed upon the pavement, exon- 
erated from the charge of being a thief, than he found the 
same Masonic Grand Master and coroner tapping him on 
the shoulder, armed with a writ for a debt of two dollars 
to a tavern keeper of Canandaigua. Resistance was use- 
less. Morgan had neither money nor credit, and for the 
want of them he was taken to the county jail. The com- 


mon property and the remedial process of the State was 
thus once more employed to subserve the vindictive pur- 
poses of a secret society. 

Twenty-four hours were suffered to pass, whilst the 
necessary arrangements were maturing to complete the 
remainder of the terrible drama. On the evening of the 
succeeding day, being the twelfth of September, the same 
Grand Master coroner once more made bis appearance at 
the prison. After some little negotiation, Morgan is once 
more released by the payment of the debt for which he 
had been taken. But he is not free. No sooner is he 
treading the soil of freedom, and perchance dreaming of 
escape from all these annoyances, than upon a given 
signal, a yellow carriage and gray horses are seen by the 
bright moonlight rolling with extraordinary rapidity to- 
wards the jail. A few minutes pass, Morgan has been 
seized and gagged and bound and thrown into the car- 
riage, which is now seen well filled with men, rolling 
as rapidly as before but in a contrary direction. Morgan 
is now completely in the power of his enemies. The veil 
of law is now removed. All that remains to be done 
is to use the arm of the flesh. Morgan is taking his last 
look of the town of Canandaigua. 

It is a fact that this carriage moved along night and 
day, over a hundred miles of well settled country, with 
fresh horses to draw it supplied at six different places, and 
with corresponding changes of men to carry on the enter- 
prise, and not the smallest let or impediment was experi- 
enced. With but a single exception, every individual 
concerned in it was a Freemason, bound by the secret tie ; 
and the exception was immediately initiated by a unani- 
mous vote of the Lodge at Lewiston. It afterwards 
appeared in evidence that the Lodge at Buffalo had been 
called to deliberate upon it, and moreover that the Lodges 
at Le Roy, Bethany, Clovington and Lockport, as well as 


the Chapter at Rochester, had all of them consulted upon 
it. There is no other way to account for the preparation 
made along the line of the road travelled by the party. 
Nowhere was there delay, or hesitation, or explanation, or 
discussion. Every thing went on like clock-work, up to 
the hour of the evening of the fourteenth of September, 
when the prisoner was taken from the carriage at Fort 
Niagara, an unoccupied military post near the mouth of 
the river of that name, and lodged in the place originally 
designed for a powder magazine, when the position had 
been occupied by the troops of the United States. The 
jurisdiction was now changed from that of the State to 
that of the federal government, but the power that held 
the man was one and the same. It was Masonry that 
opened the gates of the Fort, by controlling the will of 
the brother who for the time had it intrusted to his charge. 
On this same evening, there was appointed to take place 
at the neighboring town of Lewiston, an installation of a 
Chapter, misnamed Benevolent, at which the arch conspira- 
tor was to be made Grand High Priest, and an opportu- 
nity was given to all associates from distant points to 
come together and to consult upon what it was best to 
do next. Here it is, that in spite of the untiring labors of 
an investigating committee organized for the purpose, and 
in spite of the entire application of the force of the courts 
of the country to the eliciting of the truth, the details of 
the affair which thus far have been clearly exposed, begin 
to grow dim and shadowy. There is reason to believe 
that Morgan was carried across the river in a boat at night, 
and placed at the disposal of a Canadian lodge at Newark. 
The scruples of one or two brethren who hesitated at the 
idea of murder, brought on a refusal to assume the trust. 
Consultations on this side of the river followed, and mes- 
sengers were despatched to Rochester for advice. The 
final determination was, that Morgan must die, to pay the 


penalty of his violated oath. After this, every thing at- 
tending the catastrophe becomes roore and more uncertain. 
It is affirmed that eight Masons met and threw into a hat 
as many lots, three of which only were marked. Each 
man then drew a lot, and where it was not a marked 
lot, he went immediately home. There is reason to be- 
lieve that the three who remained, were the persons who, 
on the night of the 19th or 20th of September, took their 
victim from the fort, where he had been kept for sacrifice, 
carried him in a boat to the middle of the stream, and 
having fastened upon him a heavy weight, precipitated 
him into eternity. 

Such is a condensed statement of this eventful history 
— a history which in many of its details will vie in inte- 
rest with any narrative of romance. That such a tragedy 
could be executed in the United States, a country fortified 
as the people fondly imagine by all known securities to 
life and liberty; that it could be carried on through a 
period of ten days, in a populous Christian community, 
without thought of rescue ; that it could enlist as actors 
so large a number of citizens of good repute in so many 
different quarters as were members of the various lodges 
privy to the transaction ; and finally, that it could secure 
the co-operation of the chosen ministers of justice, and 
even of some set apart to the service of the Deity, one of 
whom could be found bold enough to invoke the blessing 
of God upon the contemplated violation of his most 
solemn law ; that it could involve all these possibilities^ 
was a thing well calculated to rouse the human mind to a 
high pitch of wonder, until the problem found its natural 
solution in the disclosure of the Masonic oath. Construed 
as this obligation was construed by the members of the 
order in Western New York, all cause of surprise at the 
consequences instantly disappears. 

Yet strange as is this narrative, fearful as is the dis- 


closure of the fanaticisin of secret association which could 
impel men — holding a respectable rank in society, walking 
by the light of modern civilization, acknowledging the 
influence of Christianity over their daily life — to the com- 
mission of outrages so flagrant as were the abduction and 
murder of William Morgan, it would not of itself have 
sufllced to justify attaching even a suspicion to the entire 
institution of Freemasonry in the United States, or even 
to any considerable branch of it existing without the 
limits of the region where the events happened. Whatever 
might have been the private sentiments entertained of the 
danger attending the assumption of secret obligations, the 
exact nature of these was at the outset too little under- 
stood to sanction the inference that they allowed criminal 
enterprises. Extensive as the conspiracy against Morgan 
and Miller appeared to be, yet similar things have been 
done under the influence of passion and in open and ac- 
knowledged violation of moral and religious duty, in all 
stages of the world's progress. It was hence no unreason- 
able thing to conclude that it might have happened once 
more. Censure was to be directed, if any where, against 
those over-zealous members of the order who could be be- 
lieved to have overstepped the bounds of reason and of 
justice, acknowledged as well by the law of the fraternity 
as by the higher one of God and of civil society. It was 
reserved for events coming somewhat later, to develope 
the fact, that in the instance of Morgan, Freemasons, so 
far from thinking themselves to be violating, were literally 
following the injunction which they felt to be laid upon 
them in their oaths. The law of Masonry was to them 
more than that of civil government or of the Deity, even 
when it was known directly to conflict with them. It 
was the truth of this proposition, slowly and gradually 
wrested from the lips of adhering members, that turned 
the current of popular indignation from the guilty indi- 


victuals towards the Institution itself. It was the proof 
furnished of this truth, which created the moral power of 
the political party that soon sprung up in New York and 
Pennsylvania, and that under the banner of opposition to 
all secret societies rallied its tens of thousands in a fierce 
and vindictive, and at times, even a fanatical persecution 
of every thing that bore even the semblance of dreaded 

It would be tedious to recapitulate all the particulars of 
the evidence which ultimately fastened upon the public 
mind a conviction of the reality of the proposition above 
named. It may be sufficient to state the manner in which 
the powerful efforts made to discover the guilty parties and 
to bring them to justice, were perpetually baffled. The 
first and most natural impulse operating upon those who 
united in an endeavor to maintain the law, was to look to 
the Chief Executive Magistrate of New York for energetic 
support. The person who held that office at the moment, 
was no less distinguished man than the celebrated De Witt 
Clinton. But he was at the same time a Freemason, and 
what is more, he was High Priest of the General Grand 
Chapter of the United States, in other words, the highest 
officer of the Order. The fact was known throughout the 
region of Western New York, and was unquestionably 
relied upon as a protection from danger by those who were 
concerned in the deeds of violence. Indeed it afterwards 
came out, that what purported to be a letter from him was 
freely used for tlie purpose of instigating the members of 
the Order to prosecute their schemes. There are many 
living who yet suspect that the letter was actually genu- 
ine; but that suspicion is believed to be unjust to the 
memory of the late Governor Clinton, who did what be 
could, as soon as he became apprized of the character of 
the offence, to bring the guilty to punishment. The fact 
however furnishes aa instructive illustration of the great 


danger attending the existence of secret ties, which may 
even be suspected to conflict in the mind of a high officer 
of state with the performance of his public duties. The 
moral influence of his situation was thus wholly lost upon 
men who believed, that whatever he might say in public 
to the contrary, his sympathies were all with them ; who 
supposed that his private obligations to conceal and never 
to reveal the secrets of his brother Masons, as well as to 
aid and assist in extricating them from any difficulty in 
which they might become involved, might be depended 
upon, at least so far as to shelter them from the legal con- 
sequences of their own misdeeds, within the sphere of 
the Ebcecutive influence. Was this an inference wholly 
tinwarrauted from the language of the Masonic oath ? Let 
any impartial individual examine its nature and answer 
affirmatively if he can. Doubtless De Witt Clinton was 
wholly innocent of guilt, but his situation was not the less 
clearly one of conflict between his Masonic and his social 
and religious duty. Although he may have escaped con- 
tamination, another and weaker individual might have 
made himself accessory to the crime. At all events, it must 
be conceded that the situation in which he was thrown, 
was one not unnaturally the consequence of his assumption 
of conflicting obligations, and one in which no high civil 
officer under any government should ever be suffered to 

The second manifestation of the force of the Masonic 
obligation was made visible in the courts of justice, which 
are established to try persons charged with the commission 
of offences against human life or liberty. The sheriffs, 
whose duty it was under the laws of New York to select 
and summon the grand juries, were, in all the counties in 
which the deeds of violence against Morgan had been 
committed, Freemasons. Several of them had themselves 
been parties to the crime. They did not hesitate to make 


use of their power as officers of justice to screen the crim- 
inals from conviction. The jurors whom they summoned 
were most of them Masons, some of them participators in 
the offences into which it became their civil duty to in- 
quire. Theconsequencemay readily be imagined. Money, 
time and talent were ex()ended in profusion, for the purpose 
of bringing the perpetrators of the crime complained of to 
condign punishment ; but almost in vain. Some of the 
suspected persons were found and put upon their trial; but 
the secret obligation prevailed in the jury box, and uni- 
formly rescued them in the moment of their utmost need. 
Others vanished from the scene and eluded pursuit even to 
the farthest limits of the United States. One man, and 
probably the most guilty, was tracked to the bosom of a 
Lodge in the city of New York, by the members of which 
be was secreted, put on board of a vessel below the har- 
bor, and despatched to a foreign land. Five years were 
consumed in unavailing efforts to obtain a legal conviction 
of the various offenders. Nothing that deserves the name 
of a true verdict followed. Such a history of deeply 
studied, skilfully combined and successfully executed 
movements to set at naught the lawfully constituted tri- 
bunals of justice, has at no other time been made evident 
in America. Important witnesses were carried off at the 
moment when their evidence was indispensable, and 
placed beyond the jurisdiction of the State ; or if present 
and interrogated, they stood doggedly mute ; or else they 
placed themselves entirely under the guidance of legal 
advisers employed to protect them from criminating them- 
selves. It was made plain to the most ordinary capacity 
that the Order was assuming the responsibility of the 
crime of some of its members. It was exerting itself to 
throw over the guilty, the protecting garb of the innocent. 
The obligation of Freemasonry was then the law para- 
mount, and the social system sunk into nothing by the 


8ide of it. Even distant Lodges responded favorably to 
the call made upon them to aid in the defence of the 
endangered brethren, by actually voting and forwarding 
sums of money for their relief. And the brief and insig- 
nificant period of imprisonment which two or three of 
them paid as a penalty for comparatively light offences, 
was spent by them in receiving the sympathy of a martyr's 
fate. The end of all was, that for the first time Masonry 
enjoyed its complete triumph. The men who actually 
participated in the murder have gradually dropped off, 
until it may be said that not a single individual remains 
within the United States. But they lived and died secure 
from every danger of legal punishment. The oath of Ma- 
sonry came in conflict with the duty to society and to 
God, and succeeded in setting it aside. 

The ends of justice were defeated ; but the labors of 
those indefatigable persons who had striven day and night 
to promote them, were not altogether thrown away. The 
materials were collected to show to the world the chain of 
connection woven by the Masonic obligations between the 
subordinate Lodges in Western New York and the higher 
authorities of the East, Thepopularattention was turned to 
every Masonic movement — not solely in the State in which 
had been the cause of offence, but in all of the neighbor- 
ing States. Extraordinary powers to pursue the investi- 
gations to its source were demanded of various legislative 
bodies, and the treatment of these applications elicited the 
fact that Freemasonry exercised a power almost as great 
in the deliberative assemblies as in the executive council 
chamber, or in the jury box of the courts. The opposition 
to Masonry became gradually more and more intensely 
political, and in the process took up an aspect of extreme 
and illiberal vindictiveness towards all who ventured to 
stay its progress. The other parties were compelled to 
b«id to the force of the blast that was sweeping over them. 


The revelations made by Morgan, in the book which cost 
him his life, though at first called an imposture, proved on 
examination to be strictly true. But they embraced only 
the first three degrees of Masonry. Other persons, dis- 
gusted and indignant at the proceedings of their adhering 
brethren after the fate of Morgan was known to them, 
vohintarily came forward and supplied all the remaining 
forms used in America, and many of those which had been 
adopted in Europe. A considerable number openly and 
voluntarily seceded from the Order. A meeting of such 
persons, held at Le Roy, ended, as has been already stated, 
in a formal renunciation by them of all their obligations. 
Here and there in other States the example was followed 
by a few. There were more who silently seceded, having 
made up their minds never again to visit a Lodge. Yet 
in spite of all this, in spite of the earnest exhortation ad- 
dressed to his brethren by Colonel W. L. Stone, in a book 
written by him to prevail upon them to dissolve the 
Lodges and Chapters and to abandon Masonry altogether, 
it must be admitted that the great majority of the Society 
remained equally unmoved by denunciation, flattery or 
prayer. Some had the assurance publicly to deny the 
truth of all the allegations made against Masonry, and 
further to affirm that they had never taken obligations as 
Masons not compatible with their duties as citizens. 
Others, — and the most important of these was Eidward 
Livingston, then uniting with the possession of one of the 
chief posts of responsibility in the general government, 
that of the highest dignity in the Masonic hierarchy, 
made vacant by the death of Clinton, — deemed it the 
part of wisdom to remain sullenly dumb, abstaining 
from all controversy, and suffering the excitement against 
Masons to blow over and spend itself in vain. In this 
spirit Mr. Livingston proceeded to deliver what he called 
an Address to the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter 


of the United States, upon the occasion of his instal- 
lation as General Grand High Priest. He recommended 
that all attacks made upon the Order to which they be- 
longed should be met with dignified silence ; as if digni- 
fied silence were not equally a resource for the most atro- 
cious criminal and for the most unspotted citizen. The 
charge as against Mr. Livingston was surely worthy of 
some little consideration when connected with the evidence 
already laid before the public to sustain it. It was neither 
more nor less than this, that he, being Secretary of State 
of the United States, one of the confidential advisers of 
the President, and moreover the reputed author of a strong 
proclamation issued by the chief magistrate against those 
in danger of falling into treasonable practices by their con- 
nection with South Carolina nullification, was yet himself 
nnder secret obligations which required him to conceal the 
evidence of all the offences denounced in that state paper, 
provided only that it should be communicated to him 
under the seal of Masonic <:onfidez)oe. ^ot rto answer 
such a charge as this, implied xather a doubt of the abilitjr 
to do so satisfactorily, than a perfect reliance upon the 
consciousness of innocence. If Masonry was free from all 
the objections raised by its opponents, what more effective 
step to establish its innocence than a simple statement of 
the truth ? If it was a valuable institution, worthy of 
preservation, surely the effort to sustain it against injurious 
calumnies was worth making. Could it be supposed that 
the unanimous testimony to the alleged character of the 
oaths, brought by hundreds of respectable persons who 
had taken them but who now renounced them, was to be 
discredited by the merely negative action of adhering 
Masons, however individually respectable, or however 
exalted in position? Considering the precise nature of 
the difficulties by which they were surrounded, it is clear 
that no defence could have been assumed by them, in its 


character more nugatory. It manifested only the con* 
scionsness of wrong, combined with a dogged resolution 
never to admit nor to retract it. 

The address of Mr. Livingston, such as it was, proved 
the inciting cause of the publication of a series of letters 
directed by Mr. Adams to him, which will be found to 
make a part of the present volume. In these papers the 
argument against the Masonic obligation, as the root of 
all the crimes committed in the case of Morgan, was 
pushed with a force which carried conviction to the minds 
of many persons at the time, and which seems even at this 
day scarcely to admit of reply. Mr. Livingston himself 
made no attempt at rejoinder. This was the part of dis- 
cretion, for had he done so, there is little reason to doubt 
that Mr. Adams would have fulfilled his promise when he 
said to him, " Had you ventured to assume the defence of 
the Masonic oaths, obligations and penalties — bad you 
presumed to commit your name to the assertion that they 
can by any possibility be reconciled to the laws of morali- 
ty, of Christianity, or of the land, I should have deemed 
it my duty to reply, and to have completed the demon- 
stration before God and man that they cannot^' 

The opportunity for a complete and overwhelming vic- 
tory was thus denied to Mr. Adams by the tacit secession 
from the field of Mr. Livingston. Yet the effect of his 
letters was by no means trifling in many States. The 
moral power of the opponents of Masonry visibly increased, 
and with it the earnestness of their political hostility to 
those who practised its rites. It showed itself in the gen- 
eral election of State officers, both in New York and 
Pennsylvania, and in the nomination of Mr. William Wirt 
as a candidate at the ensuing election for the presidency of 
the United States, in opposition to General Jackson, the 
incumbent, who was found to be a Freemason. Neither 
was Mr. Adams himself suffered to remain disconnected 


with the moyement of political ojHnions upon the subject. 
A large convention of citizens of Massachusetts unani- 
mously called upon him to suffer his name to be used in 
the canvass for the office of Governor, which took place in 
that State in the year 1833. Reluctant as he was to enter 
into the arena, and to sacrifice his preference for the posi- 
tion in the House of Representatives of the United States, 
which he then occupied, the nature of the appeal made to 
him overcame all his scruples. The election took place. 
It terminated in the failure to make choice of any person 
by the requisite constitutional majority. The power of the 
party which bad for a long time held the control of the 
government of Massachusetts, and with which Mr. Adams 
bad up to this period co-operated, was broken under the 
effort to sustain Masonry against him. Had he determined 
to persevere, it is quite uncertain what might have been the 
consequences to the position of the Commonwealth. But 
it was not his wish to press the matter beyond the point 
which a sense of duty dictated. No sooner was it ascer- 
tained by the return of the votes that a continuance of the 
contest in the Legislature of the State was to be the result 
of his adherence to his position, than he determined to 
withdraw his name from the canvass. At the same time 
that he took this step, he caused to be published an ad- 
dress to the people of the Commonwealth, explaining his 
views of the connection between Masonry and the politics 
of the country, and justifying himself from the charges 
with which he had been most vehemently. assailed. With 
this paper, the last in the present volume, and the close of 
which is in a strain of eloquence which alone should se- 
cure its preservation, Mr. Adams appears to have termina- 
ted his public labors in opposition to secret obligations and 
to Freemasonry. But their effects were soon afterwards 
made visible, by the adoption of 4aws prohibiting the ad- 
ministration of extrajudicial oaths, by the voluntary dis- 


solution of many of the subordinate lodges, and by the 
tacit secession of a large number of individual members. 
Indeed, such was the silence preserved for a long time res- 
pecting the Institution, that its existence in Massachusetts 
might almost have been questioned.* The purposes for 
which the organized opposition had been made, seemed so 
completely answered, that the motives for maintaining it 
were no longer strongly felt. The current of public affairs 
soon afterwards took a new turn. Anti-masonry gradually 
disappeared as an agent to eflect clianges in the political 
aspect of the States, and the individuals who had associa- 
ted themselves in the movement, again joined the ordinary 
party organizations with which they most nearly sympa- 

Thus it happened that Freemasonry, by cowering un- 
der the storm, saved itself from the utter prostration which 
would have followed perseverance in the policy of resist- 
ance. Years have passed away, and it again gives symp- 
toms of revivification. A new and kindred Institution has 
suddenly manifested an extraordii>ary degree of develope- 
meut under the guise of benevolence. What the precise 
nature of the obligations may be, which bind great num- 
bers of citizens, mostly young, active men, into this con- 
nection, has not yet been fully brought to light. The 
objects are stated to be charity and the rendering of mu- 
tual aid. If these are all the purposes of the association, 
it cannot be otherwise than meritorious. Yet it can 
scarcely be maintained that any unlimited pledge of se- 
crecy is essential to the successful execution of them. 
In a republican form of government, the only real 
and proper fraternity is the system of civil society. To 
that, every member is bound to bow. The obligations 
which it imposes need no veil of secrecy to cover them. 
Illustrated by the law of love enjoined by the superior 
authority of the divine command, it marks out with dis- 


tinctness to each individual the paramount duty of charity, 
of benevolence and of mutual aid and support. There 
can be, therefore, no good excuse for resorting to smaller 
and narrower spheres for the invidious exercise of such 
virtues among those who ought to stand upon a perfectly 
even footing, when the broad and general one better an- 
swers to every useful and honorable exertion. The dis« 
advantages attending the formation of all associations con- 
nected by secret obligations, no matter how harmless may 
be their appearance, are, first, that if they have any effect 
at all, it is injurious to those who do not choose to join 
them; secondly, that they substitute a private pledge of a 
doubtful nature to a few who have no moral right to the 
preference, for a clear and well defined and entirely pro- 
per one given to the many. In all similar cases, the ten- 
dency to introduce objects of exertion in the smaller circle 
which conflict with those of society at large, and which 
may sometimes even threaten its safety, is obvious. It is 
the temptation presented to conspiracy which has made 
secret associations the objects of denunciation by the 
monarchs of Europe. The same thing should at all times 
render them marks for jealousy and distrust in republican 
States. They threaten the harmony of the community 
wherever they are. The pledge of political preference 
which was rapidly becoming engrafted upon the Masonic 
Institution in the United States at the time of the Morgan 
excitement, and which had already produced visible re- 
sults in many of the smaller towns of New York and New 
England, by unaccountably exalting some individuals to 
the depression of neighbors equally worthy, furnishes a 
good illustration of the mode in which social discord of 
the bitterest description may be made in the end to spring 
up. In view of the possibility of this hazard, it would 
seem as if few could be found, when once made sensible of 
the difliculty, willing deliberately to give occasion to it. 


It is confidently believed that in the materials of the 
present volume will be found a solemn warning, convey- 
ed by a voice in the feebleness of age still powerful 
over the sympathy of American citizens, against the for- 
mation of secret obligations. As time rolls on in its swift 
career, and as the generation which nursed the infant 
Republic into strength disappears from the scene, the duty 
becomes stronger on those who succeed, to heed the coun- 
sels which its wisest and most experienced men leave 
behind them. The arguments of Mr. Adams, although 
directed against the particular Order of Freemasonry, will 
yet be found susceptible of broader application, and extend- 
ing themselves over all societies of which the radical error 
is, that they shun the light of day. The pride of freemen, — 
living under a system of equal laws, with guarantees of the 
rights of each individual, — should be to sustain the junction 
of innocence with liberty, the union of an open, honest 
heart with an efficient and liberal hand. Such a state 
cannot co-exist with secret obligations. The person who 
lies under an engagement which he must not reveal, 
whatever may betide, can indeed be innocent and ener- 
getic, but he will not be perfectly frank nor just to all 
men alike. Occasions may arise in which his fidelity 
to his private pledges will come into conflict with bis 
duty to society. Who is then to decide for him what be 
must do ? On either side is moral difficulty and mental 
distress. If he betray his associates, he spots his heart 
with violated faith. If he desert his country, he fails in a 
duty of even higher obligation. The alternative is too 
painful to a conscientious spirit ever knowingly to be 
hazarded with propriety. That such an alternative is by 
no means impossible, who can doubt after the cases of Eli 
Bruce, of De Witt Clinton, and of Eklward Livingston, in 
the Masonic history of the murder of Morgan ? Much as he 
might regret it, what Freemason was there in 1826| who 


did not perceive at a glance that his pledge to his associates 
was to conceal the crime and to shelter the criminal ; 
whilst his doty to the State and to Heaven, to dis- 
close the guilt and to denounce the author, was written 
with a sunbeam on his heart? And how many were 
there, who, instead of judging rightly of the relative 
importance of the obligations, actually made themselves 
accessaries after the fact, by supplying the means of 
escape from justice to their unworthy brethren? The 
damning evidence of this truth must remain in the minds 
of men as long as Masonry shall endure. It may indeed 
be that other associations will spring up which may be 
free from all the grossly objectionable engagements of that 
institution. But who shall be secure against the intrusion 
of evil when the portal stands invitingly open to its admis- 
sion ? Who shall be able to protect himself against the 
designs of those of his associates to whom he has given a 
secret control over his will ? These are questions which 
every citizen must answer for himself. It is with the 
design that he may have at hand the means of acting 
understandingly, that the present volume is put forth. 
Young persons, who are especially liable to be carried 
away by the fascination that always attends mystery, are 
hereby furnished with an opportunity to weigh the argu- 
ments of a powerful remonstrant against any secret steps. 
Hay they read, weigh, and deeply ponder the words of 
wisdom, and may the effect of them be to preserve them 
in the paths of Liberty, of Friendship, and of Faith,* 

* Fidem, Libertatem, Amicitiam — the motto abbreviated from that select- 
ed by hU father, who found it in Tacitus, in the charj^e of the Emperor 
Galba to Piso, on adopting hira. The passage, as it stands in the original, 
applicable to the temptations by which great place is always surrounded, is 
as follows: "Fidem, libertatem, amicitiam, prsdpua humani animi bona. 
f» quidem eadem constantia retinebi* : ted alii per obeequium imminuent." 

early marked out by their adviser as the guides of his own 
career, unincumbered by obligations which they fear to 
disclose, unembarrassed by promises which they know 
not how conscientiously to perform ! 



To a Reviewer of Sheppord's Defence of the Masonic Institution, 9 
To Edward IngeraoU, Esq., Philadelphia, ... 14 

To the same, ....... 18 

To the same, ....... 24 

To the same, ....... 90 

To William H. Seward, Esq., Auburn, N. Y., . . .36 

To Richard Rush, Esq., York, PemL, .... 37 

To His Excellency Levi Lincoln, Governor of Massachusetts, . 41 
To William L. Stone, Esq., New York, ... 47 

To the same, ....... 48 

To the same, ....... 49 

To the same, ....... 56 

To the same, ....... 65 

To the same, ....... 75 

To the same, ....... 85 

To the same, . . . . .94 

To His Excellency Levi Lincoln, Governor of Massachusetts, . 96 
To Alexander H. Everett, Esq., Boston, ... 98 

To Richard Rush, Esq., York, Penn., . . . .101 

To Benjamin Cowell, fSsq., Providence, R. L, . . .107 

To James Morehead, Esq., Mercer, Penn., 112 

To Edward Livingston, Esq., . .115 

To the same, ....... 129 

To the same, ....... 142 

To the same, ....... 155 

To the same, ....... 168 

To the same, ....... 184 

To Messrs. Timothy Merrill, Henry F. Janes, Martin Flint, 
Charles Davis, Edward D. Barber, Samuel N. Swett and 
Amos Bliss, Committee of the Antimasonic State Conven- 
tion, held at Montpelier, in the State of Vermont, on the 
26thof June, 1833, . . . . .204 

To James Moorehead, Esq., Secretary of the Meadville (Penn.) 

Antimasonic Convention, . . . . .211 

To R, W. Middleton, Gettysburg, Pa., . . . . 217 

Address to the People of Massachusetts, . . . 219 


Entered Apprentice's Obligation, 

. 275 

Fellow Craft's Obligation, 


Master Mason's Obligation, .... 

. 276 

Royal Arch Oath, ..... 

. 278 

Knight Templar's Oath, ...... 


Fifth Libation, 



by Hon* Edward Ldvingston, . . . . 






The following letter from John Qnincy Adams explains the views 
of his illustrious father and of himself, on the subject of Freemasomy. 
It was written in reply to a note from our correspondent, who is 
reviewing Mr. Sheppard*s Dtfenct of the Masonic InstUtUion, It may 
be recollected, that Mr. Sheppard claimed the elder Adams as a patron 
of the order; and our correspondent took the liberty of addressing Mr. 
Adams, asking for information on this point — Boston Prtss. 

Quincy, 22 August, 183L 

ScR, — The letter from my father to the Grand 
Lodge of Massachusetts, which Mr. Sheppard has 
thought proper to introduce into his address, was a 
complimentary answer to a friendly and patriotic 
address of the Grand Lodge to him. In it he ex- 
pressly states that he had never been initiated in the 
order. He therefore knew nothing of their Secrets, 
their Oaths, nor their Penalties. Far less had their 
practical operation been revealed, by the murder of 
William Morgan. Nor had the hand of the Avenger 


;of blood been arrested for five long years — and 
probably forever, by the contumacy of witnesses 
setting justice at defiance in her own Sanctuary. — 
Nor had the trial of an accomplice in guilt marked 
the influence of one juror under masonic oaths upon 
the verdict of his eleven fellows. 

That Mr. Sheppard should resort to a letter from 
my father, a professedly uninitiated man, to liberate 
the Masonic Institution from the unrefuted charge 
of unlawful oaths, of horrible and disgusting penal- 
ties, and secrets, the divulging of which has been 
punished by a murder unsurpassed in human atrocity, 
is to me passing strange. All that my father knew 
of masonry in 1798, was that it was favorable to 
the support of civil authority; and this he inferred 
from the characters of intimate friends of his, and 
excellent men who had been members of the Soci- 
ety. The inference was surely natural ; but he had 
never seen the civil authority in conflict with ma- 
sonry itself. To speak of the Masonic Institution 
as favorable to the support of civil authority at this 
day, and in this country, would be a mockery of 
the common sense and sensibility of mankind. 

My father says he had known the love of the fine 
' arts, the delight in hospitality, and the devotion to 
humanity of the masonic fraternity. All these 
qualities no doubt then jvere, and yet are conspic- 
uous in many members of the Society. They, and 


qualities of a yet higher order, were not less con- 
spicuous in the Order of the Jesuits. They were 
conspicuous in many of the Monastic Orders — in 
the Inquisition itself, whose ministers, in the very 
act of burning the body of the heretic to death, 
were always actuated by the tenderest and most 
humane regard for the salvation of his soul. 

The use of my father's name for the purposes to 
which Mr. Sheppard would now apply it, is an injury 
to his memory, which I deem it my duty, as far as 
may be in my power, to redress. Yoif observe, he 
says he had never been initiated in the Masonic 
Order. And I have more than once heard from his 
own lips why he had never enjoyed that felicity. 

Mr. Jeremy Gridley, whom he mentions as having 
been his intimate friend, was Grand Master of the 
Massachusetts Grand Lodge. He was also the At- 
torney General of the Crown, when in October, 
1758, my father, having finished his law studies, 
and his school-keeping at Worcester, presented 
himself — a stranger — poor, friendless, and obscure, 
to ask of him the favor to present him to the Su- 
perior Court of the Province, then sitting at Boston, 
for admission to the Bar. — Mr. Gridley, in his own 
oflSce, examined the youthful aspirant with regard 
to his professional acquirements ; gave him advice 
truly paternal, and dictated by the purest virtue ; 
and then presented him to the Court, with a decla- 


ration that he had himself examined him, and could 
assure their Honors that his legal acquirements were 
very considerable, and fully worthy of the admission 
which be solicited. 

This kindness of Mr. Gridley was never forgotten 
by my father; I trust it will never be forgotten by 
his children. From that day forth, while Mr. Grid- 
ley lived, he was the intimate friend, personal and 
professional, of my father. He died in 1767. My 
father often resorted to him for friendly counsel, and 
as he was Grand Master of the Lodge, once asked 
his advice, whether it was worth his while to be- 
come a member of the Society. In the candor of 
friendship, Mr. Gridley answered him — NO — add- 
I ing, that by aggregation to the society a young man 
I might acquire a little artificial support ; but that he 
i did not need it, and that there was nothing in the 
Masonic Institution worthy of his seeking to be as- 
sociated with it. 

So said, at that time, the Grand Master of the 
Massachusetts Masons, Jeremy Gridley ; and such, 
I have repeatedly heard my father say, was the 
reason why he never joined the lodge. 

The use of the name of Washington, to give an 
odor of sanctity to the Institution as it now stands 
exposed to the world, is, in my opinion, as unwar- 
rantable as that of my father's name. On the 
/mortal side of human existence, there is no name 


for which I entertain a veneration more profound ( 
than for that of Washington. But he was never 
called to consider the Masonic Order in the light in 
which it MUST now be viewed. If he had been, 
we have a pledge of what his conduct would have 
been, far more authoritative than the mere fact of 
his having been a mason can be in favor of the 
brotherhood. If you wish to know what that pledge 
is, please to consult the recently published writings 
of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 1, from page 416 to 422, 
and especially the paragraph beginning at the middle 
of page 418. I would earnestly recommend the 
perusal and meditation of the whole passage to all 
virtuous and conscientious masons, of whom I 
know there are great numbers. If they wish to 
draw precepts for their own conduct from the exam- 
ple and principles of Washington, or from the delib- 
erate and anxious opinions and solicitude of Jeffer- 
son, they will find in those pages lessons of duty 
for themselves which they might consider it as pre- 
sumption in me to offer them. The application of 
the principles, in a case not identically the same, 
but in every essential point of argument similar, 
and in many respects from a weaker to a much 
stronger basis, I would leave to their own discretion, 
though first divested of its passions. It is, in my 
opinion, an unanswerable demonstration of the duty 
of every mason in the United States at this day. 


I never heard, and do not believe, that the Rev. 
Dr. Bentley ever delivered or published a sermon 
censuring my father for any thing he had ever said 
upon the subject of Masonry. The electoral vote of 
Massachusetts in 1801 was unanimous for my father. 

You are at liberty to make what use of this letter 
you please ; giving notice, if you publish it, that it 
is in answer to a letter of inquiry received by me. 
I am, very respectfully, Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 




September 21, 1831. 

Mr. Chandler has truly informed you that I am a 
zealous Antimason — to this extent — It is my delib- 
erate opinion, that from the time of the commission 
of the crimes committed at the kidnapping and 
murder of William Morgaii^ it became the solemn 
and sacred, civic and social duty of every Masonic 
Lodge in the United States, either to dissolve itself, 
or to discard forever all administration of oaths and 
penalties and ^1 injunctions of secrecy of any kind, 
to its members. A believed^t also their duty, though 
of less imperious obligation, to abolish all their ill- 


assorted, honorific titles, and childish or ridiculous 

I believed it also a duty sacredly incumbent upon 
every individual Freemason in the United States, to 
use all the influence in his power to prevail upon his 
brethren of the order to the same end, that is, t o the^ 
total abolition of the order, or to its discarding for- 
ever all oaths — all penalties — all secrets, and all 
fantastic titles, exhibitions and ceremonies heretofore 
used in the institution. 

Believing these to be their duties, I did not feel 
myself called to take an active part in the contro- 
versy, which I saw arising in the community con- 
cerning them. I took considerable pains to avoid 
entering into that controversy. I endured firom 
individuals of the fraternity, instigated by the pas- 
sions of the order, falsehood, by statements in their 
newspapers, that I was one of their members; 
perjury to affect the presidential election, by an 
affidavit sworn to before a Masonic magistrate by a 
Master Mason, that he had sat with me twice at 
meetings of a Lodge at Pittsfield — insulting, cajoling, 
threatening, anonymous letters from Masonic sources 
— abusive slander and vituperation in Masonic news- 
papers, pamphlets and even volumes — and other 
wrongs of which it behoves me not to speak. All 
these I have endured for a space now of at least four 
years, without reply, without complaint^ never dis- 


guising, in the conversations of social intercourse, 
the opinions above expressed ; never seeking occa- 
sion to promulge them ; and declining, time after 
time, on many occasions and in various forms, to 
engage in the turmoil of Masonic and Antimasonic 
warfare. At last an English Shepherd of Ma- 
sonic sheep at Wiscasset in Maine, has the im- 
pudence to vouch in my father, as a witness to the 
sublime and transcendent virtues of Masonry, and 
in the same pamphlet casts a due portion of his 
Masonic filth at me — for what? — because in a 
confidential letter, not intended for the public, and 
published without my consent, I had once written 
that I should never be a Mason, and because I had 
twice, by special invitations, been present as a mere 
spectator at meetings of Antimasons in Boston. 
Still I should have overlooked Mr. Sheppard and his 
Masonic virtues with the rest, but that the editor of 
the Boston Press, undertaking to review his defence 
of Masonry, wrote to me to inquire what I knew of 
this pretended panegyric upon Masonry by my 
father. I then wrote the letter, which you have seen, 
and which the friendly commentary of Mr. Walsh, 
to whom you may, if you please, with my compli- 
ments, show this letter, attributes to the " error of 
the moon.^^ 

I said the crimes committed at the kidnapping 
and murder of William Morgan. — Do you know what 
they were ? Were they not 


1. Fraudulent abuse In repeated forms of the 
process of the law to obtain upon false pretences 
possession of the person of Morgan. 

2. Infamous slander in those false pretences by 
first arresting him on a charge against him of petty 

3. Preyious slander in newspaper advertisements 
denouncing him as a swindler and impostor, calling 
upon brethren and companions particularly to ob- 
serve, mark and govern themselves accordingly^ and 
declaring that the fraternity had amply provided 
against his evil designs. 

4. Conspiracy of Masonic Lodges assembled in 
great numbers, per fas et nefas^ by the commission 
of any crime to suppress his book. 

5. Arson — by setting fire at night to Miller's 
printing-office, in which building were eight or 
ten persons asleep, whose lives were saved only 
by the early discovery of the projected conflagra- 

6. Fraud, deception and treachery, in procuring 
from Morgan himself a part of his manuscript, which 
was finally sent by a special messenger to the Gen- 
eral Grand Chapter of the United States in session 
at New York. 

7. Kidnapping — too successfully practiced upon 
Morgan — attempted upon Miller. 

8. False imprisonment and transportation of Mor- 


gan beyond the bounds of the United States into a 
foreign territory. 

9. A murder, taking nine days in its perpetration 
— keeping the wretche^ and helpless victim through- 
out the whole of that time in a state of continual 
and cruel torture. 

Sleep ppon this list of peccadilloes and to-morrow 
I will give you upon them a word of comment. 



Quincy, September 2S2, 1831. 

Dear Sir, — I gave you in my last letter a list of 
NINE crimes, among the most atrocious that can be 
perpetrated by human agency, committed in the 
original transactions connected with what has been 
by an exceedingly inappropriate euphony called the 

abduction and murder of William Morgan. 

Abduction is a word of lamb-like innocence com- 
pared with the ingredients of wickedness which 
composed the crime of his taking off. Language 
sinks under the effort to express its complicated 

^.-^ These crimes I allege were committed by the 
Jrakrnity^ They were instigated by no impulse of 


individual {fassions — bj none of the stimulants to 
tbe ordinary outrages of man upon man — by no 
personal animosity — by no purpose of robbery. 
They were the crimes of the Crafty of^ which the 
guuty agents, by whom they were consummated, 
were but the fanatical instruments. 

And here I pray you to remark, that I have stated 
these crimes interrogatively. I have inquired of 
you whether they were not the crimes committed in 
those transactions ; to the end that if you find upon 
inquiry that I have set them down incorrectly or 
with exaggeration, you may reduce them in number 
or in virulence to their just and well-proportioned 

I charge them upon the Crafts as the means by 
which public notice had been given beforehand that 
the fraternity had amply provided against his de* 

In these crimes several hundreds of persons ap^ 
pear to have participated, as principals or accessories 
before or after the fact. The measures were taken 
not individually but as results of corporate delibera- 
tion in sundry lodges. 

Mr. Miner, one of the most amiable and benevo- 
lent of men, has mistaken the terms of the Anti- 
masonic proposition. There are no doubt degrees 
of exasperation of different temperature, among the 
Antimasons ; but I know of none disposed to hold 



every individual Mason responsible for the tragedy 
of Morgan's murder?^ All knovir that there are now, 
as there always have been, Masons among the most 
respectable and virtuous members of the community. 
But they belong to a vicious institution, and it is 
their duty to withdraw from that institution — to 
abolish it — or to purify it from its vices, oaths, 
penalties and secrets. 

That the institution is vicious might be very con- 
clusively inferred from the effects disclosed in the 
Nine crimes above enomerated, even if their causes 
were yet secret. But those causes have been di- 
vulged. We know that every entered apprentice 
of Masonry has, hoodwinked and with a halter round 
his neck, administered to him an Oath, the wcNrds 
of which he is required to repeat with his lips ; 
never to divulge the secrets of the Order, and bind- 
ing himself by ^^ no less a penalty than to have his 
throat cut across, his tongue torn out by the roots, 
and his body buried in the rough sands of the sea at 
low water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice 
in twenty-four hours.'' Morgan divulged these se- 
crets and his fate is the practical commentary upon 
the penalty. 

The Oath, the Penalty, the Secret, and Morgan's 
corpse at the bottom of Niagara River, where a 
shrewd brother of the craft " guessed he would pub- 
lish no more books," are illustrations of each other. 


which it would take much sophistry to obscure ; 

much prevarication to confuse. Mr. Miner has 

taken this oath and bound himself by no less than 
this penalty. It is wise and prudent in him there- 
fore not to violate the oath, and he would assuredly 
not have been the man to execute the penalty upon 
Morgan for considering it a dead letter. 

But will Mr. Miner tell you that the penalty is, 
or that it is not, a dead letter ? If it is, surely the 
oath is the same — and then it is mere profanity ; a 
taking of the name of God in vain; odious in pro- 
portion to the disgusting solemnity of the form in 
which it is administered. If it is not a dead letter, 
what is it ? Some of the Masonic Defences allege 
that it is only an imprecation — ^^ under no less a 
penalty than to have my throat cut " — a mere impre- 
cation ! Is it not then a paltering with words in 
double senses ? A penalty is not an imprecation, 
and to have the throat cut across and the tongue torn 
out by the roots is not expulsion from a Lodge. The 
substance of the defence is, that the penalty is a 
brutum fulmen ; that there is no authority existing 
in, or conferred by the institution to carry it into 
execution; and that it is a special charge to all 
Masons upon their admission, to observe faithfully 
the laws of God and of the land. But for every 
degree of Masonry there is a separate oath and a 
diversified penalty, and in some of the higher de- 


greeSy it includes a promise to carry into effect the 
punishments of the fraternity. I have heard of the 
instructions from the owner of a piratical cruizer to 

>his captain, directing him to take, burn, sink or 
destroy any merchant vessel of any nation that might 

j fall in his way, and to dispose of the people on board 
of them so as that they might not prove afterwards 
troublesome ; but to be specially careful not to in- 

; fringe upon the laws of nations or of humanity. 
This man must have been a Mason of at least the 
Royal Arch degree. 

That the Oaths and Penalties of Masonry were 
not understood, by the multitudes of Masons acces- 
sory to the commission of the Nine Crimes enumer* 
ated in my list, as mere imprecations, is self-evident. 
By them they were understood, according to their 
plain, unambiguous import, as an absolute, unequiv- 
ocal forfeiture of Life^ and an explicit consent of the 
person taking the Oath, that he should be put to 
death in the horrid manner described in the terms 
of the penalty if he should divulge the secrets of the 
Order. But whether the penalty be, as it purports, 
a real penalty, or a mere imprecation, will Mr. Miner 
say that it is a form of words and obligations fit to 
be administered with a solemn invocation of the 
name of God to a Christian and a Freeman ? (Cruel 
and unusual punishments are equally abhorrent to 
the mild spirit of Christianity, and to the spirit of 


equal liberty. The infliction of them is expressly 
prohibited in the Bill of Rights of this Common- 
wealth, and yet thousands of her citizens have at- 
tested the name of God, to subject themselves to 
death by tortures, which cannibal savages would 
instinctively shrink from inflicting. ^ 

It has therefore been in my opinion, ever since 
the disclosure of the Morgan-murder crimes, and of 
the Masonic Oaths and Penalties by which they 
were instigated, the indispensable duty of the Ma- 
sonic Order in the United States, either to dissolve ^ 
itself, or to discard forever from its constitution 
and laws all oaths, all penalties^ all secrets j and as 
ridiculous appendages to them, all mysteries and 
pageants. Believing this to be the duty of the 
whole Order, I have deemed it a duty equally indis- 
pensable of every individual Mason, to use in calm- 
ness and moderation all his influence with the fra- 
ternity to come to one or the other of these results. 
And I have, since the New York elections of the last 
autumn, deemed this to be a duty especially and 
above all incumbent upon Mr. Clay. I mean that 
he should have set a similar example to that of 
Washington, in endeavoring to prevail upon the 
Order of the Cincinnati to dissolve themselves, or 
at least to discard the most exceptionable parts of 
their constitution, in which latter purpose he suc- 
ceeded. I have not said this to Mr. Clay, because 


ia the estimate of his duties he must be his own 
counsellor, and I know he has had advice from an- 
other quarter, which he has doubtless deliberately 
weighed ; but it brings me to a point upon which 
I shall ask a few minutes further of your patience, 
for your friend hereafter. 



Quincy, 23 September, 1831. 

Dear Sir, — From the nature of the Masonic 
Oaths, Penalties and Secrets, and the construction 
given to them, not a forced and unnatural one, but 
conformable to the plain import of their terms by 
multitudes of Masons in the Western part of New 
York, the crimes immediately connected with the 
murder of William Morgan were committed. I 
charge them therefore upon the Institution ; and if 
Masonry had been until then a perfectly innocent 
and even useful institution ; from the time of the 
commission of those crimes it would have ceased to 
be so. From that time, the community acquired the 
right of calling upon the fraternity to discontinue 
and renounce at least the administration of oaths, 
the imposition of all forms of penalties, and all 
secrets whatever. 


A large and increasing portion of the community 
have made this demand, — a demand just and reason- 
able in itself, and the more so, as the Oaths, Pen- 
alties and Secrets have been divulged not only by 
Morgan's book, but by the concurring testimony of 
numerous seceding Masons. The Oaths, the Pen- 
alties and the Secrets — whether all disclosed vi^ith 
perfect accuracy or not ; whether understood as 
they were by the murderers of Morgan, or as ex- 
plained by the defenders of Masonry — are unreason- 
able^^odjousj. ajjd I believe unlawful. The Oaths of 
all Masons, heretofore admitted, if they ever had 
any binding force, are dissolved by the fact of the 
public disclosure of the secrets, which they had 
bound themselves to keep. Their country calls 
upon them to disclaini henceforth and forever all 
secrets, and as incidental to the injunction of them, 
all oaths and penalties. This reasonable andmod- 
e rate call has not only been resisted by the great 
body of Freemasons throughout the United States, 
but no man, high or low, eminent or obscure, has 
dared to avow this opinion and unite in this call 
without being assailed in his reputation, robbed of 
his good name, insulted, abused and vilified openly 
and in secret, by individual Masons and by organized 
Lodges, a body of at least two hundred thousand 
men, scattered over the whole Union — all active 
and voting men, linked together by secret ties, for 


purposes of indefinite extent; bound together by 
oaths and penalties operating with terrific energy 
upon the imagination of the human heart, and upon 
its fears ; embracing within the penalty of its laws 
the President of the United States and his leading 
competitors ; and winding itself round every great 
political party for support, like poisonous ivy round 
I a sturdy oak, and round every object of its aversion, 
{like the boa-constrictor round its victim. Such in 
faint and diluted colors is at this time the image of 
the Masonic Institution in these United States. 
Commanding despotically a large portion of the pub- 
lic presses — intimidating by its terrors multitudes of 
others — and amidst all its internal dissensions, unit- 
ing with the whole mass of its power against every 
common adversary, one of the most alarming and 
pernicious characters in which it now presents itself, 
is that of its political dominion. You tell me that^ 
you are ABtiraasonic in your opinions and feelings, / 
but are perplexed by the mixture of Politics with ! 
Antimasonry. But you place herein the effect before i 
the cause. The mixture of Politics is with Masonry. \ 
It is the misfortune of IV^r. Clay to be entangled 
with Masonry, and I sincerely regret that he has not 
felt it his duty, as I think it was, to shake off his 
shackles. -His motives I have no doubt were gen- 
erous, but the effect is that he sustains and identifies 
himself with the Masonic cause.\ That cause is now 


sustained only by such artificial and unnatural pil- 
lars. Neither Mr. Claj nor you (forgive me for 
saying) estimate at its true value the cause of Anti- 
masonry« You look chiefly to the motives of its 
supporters, and distrust them too much. You ask if 
Masonry should be made answerable for the crimes 
of a few individual Masons ? Should the royal gov- 
ernment of Rome have been abolished for the vio- 
lence committed upon a single woman ? Should 
the decemvirate have been subverted for the murder 
of Virginia by her own father ? Should the tribe 
of Benjamin have been exterminated for the brutal 
abuse of one Levite's concubine? Should the 
British nation have gone to war with Spain for the 
cutting off by a few Spaniards of one smuggler's 
ears ? In all those cases and in numberless others 
which swarm in human history, the connection 
between the crime, and the institution made an- 
swerable for it, was infinitely more remote than the ' 
cluster of Morgan-murder crimes is from the vitals 
of Masonry. But I have spoken only of the crimes 
committed at the time. Look at the government 
of the State of New York, struggling in vain from / 
that time to this — five long years — to bring the I 
perpetrators of the murder to punishment. See ^ 
judges, sheriffs, witnesses, jurors, entangled in the 
net of Masonry, and justice prostrated in her own 
temple by the touch of her invisible hand. 

Several of the abductors have indeed been convict- 


ed, and among them one sheriff of a county. Three 
or four upon their own confession of guilt. You 
say you " have been told by men who care much 
more for truth than for Masonry, that there is no 
reason to believe that any Mason has refused to give 
testimony on account of Masonic obligations." — 
My dear sir, go to the records of the Courts. You 
will find witnesses refusing to testify upon the ex- 
press ground of Masonic obligations, avowing that 
they consider those obligations paramount to the 
laws of the land. You will see them contumacious 
to the decisions of the Court, fined and imprisoned 
for contempt, suffer the punishment rather than bear 
the testimony, and instead of expulsion, be refunded, 
at least in part, for their fines, by contributions from 
the Lodges. I give you names — Isaac Allen, Eli 
Bruce, Ezekiel Jewett, John Whitney, Orsamus 
Turner, Erastus Day, Sylvanus Cone, Elisha M. 
Forbes, Benjamin Enos. 

You will find much more. You will find Masonic 
grand and petit juries, summoned by Masonic sher- 
iffs, eager to sit upon the trials, perverting truth and 
justice when admitted on the array, and often ex- 
cluded upon challenge to the favor ; and last of all 
you will find one of the men, most deeply implicated 
in the murder, screened from conviction by one 
Mason upon his jury. 

*<It is not and it cannot come to good." 


That this enormous train of abuses should be 
sustained by those who have it in abhorrence, and 
that every individual denouncing it should be hunted 
down, as if he himself were a pest to society, because 
(^"Alasonry has fastened itself to the skirts both of 
General Jackson and Mr. Clay, to sink or swim 
with them, is itself one of the most objectionable 
properties of the Institution. Clay Masonry has 
become not only the familiar denomination of a 
great political party, but of a party which to put 
dow n a'Jiigh," pure and virtuous manifestation of 
popular sen^ibUity? takes to its bosom Jacksonism 
itself. So it was in all the New York elections of 
last November. So it has been in the elections of 
the last Massachusetts legislature. Clay Masons 
gave New York to the Regency to put down the 
Antimason Granger. Clay Masons made a Jackson 
man a Senator for our county of Plymouth, over a 
National Republican, with three hundred more pop- 
ular votes ; because forsooth he was the Antimasonic 
and his competitor the Masonic candidate ; and yet 
I hear Masons complain of proscription and disfran- 

I may perhaps publish part of these letters ; but 
without at all implicating you. Show them, if you 
please, to Mr. Walsh, as the moon-struck visions of 
your friend 




Quincy, 22 October, 1831. 

Dear Sir, — One month has elapsed since, in 
answer to some remarks in a friendly letter from 
jou on the subject of Masonry and its antidote, I 
gave you with freedom and candor my sentiments 
concerning them, and a view of the progressive 
steps by which I had been reluctantly drawn into a 
public participation in this controversy. I author- 
ized you to show my letters to Mr. Walsh, because 
having long been with me upon terms of private 
friendship and of personal confidence, he had de- 
nounced me to the public, as a Madman (upon this 
subject) for a letter written and published in vindi- 
cation of my father's reputation from Masonic slan- 
der. I had no expectation of converting Mr. Walsh, 
though I did hope that this mode of noticing the 
severity of his censure might awaken a sentiment of 
kindness in his mind, which either had departed or 
was slumbering when he consigned me to the Juris- 
diction of the Moon. — He since has made me more 
than amends by his notice of my Eulogy upon Mr. 
Monroe,(and as I have always been a friend of tol- 
eration in Politics as well as in Religion, I must 
compromise for being considered by him a Lunatic 
upon Masonry and the Hartford Convention, in 


consideration of an over allowance of merit upon 
points, on which his opinions concur with mineT^ 

Within that month, events in relation to the Ma- 
sonic controversy have occurred, of no trifling mag- 
nitude. That Mr. Walsh and Mr. Sargeant con- 
sider Antimasonry as yet a subject for scorn, cer- 
tainly staggers my faith in the correctness of my 
own impressions. A very sincere respect for their 
opinions calls upon me for a severe review of my 
own, and makes me feel with double (orce the ad- 
monition in your kind letter of the 17th instant to 
be specially cautious of error and exaggeration in 
any thing that I may say on this score to the 

It was indeed under that conviction that I sub- 
mitted to you interrogatively^ the list of nine atro- 
cious crimes, committed as I believed in connection 
with the murder of William Morgan, and which I 
charged upon the Masonic Institution. If mistaken^ 
either in the number or aggravation of the crimes^ 
or in the principle of imputing them to the institu- 
tion, I was desirous of being corrected by your 
enlightened judgment and more accurate informa- 
tion. I am, therefore, happy to learn that Mr. 
Miner will reply to my Letters in ftdl. But he is 
the last man in the world, with whom I would wil- 
lingly have a controversy. I am perfectly willing to 
puUish in his Village Record, that portion of my 


letters to you, which I shall ultimately conclude to 
publish at all ; but before that, I wish to have the 
benefit of your corrections, as well in point of fact as 
of principle, derivable from the inquiries, which at 
my suggestion you have made. I should also be 
glad to know, if Mr. Miner, or you yourself, would 
be willing to have your names introduced in the 
publication ; you, as the person to whom the let- 
ters were addressed ; he, as the person referred to in 
them. In naming him, it did not occur to me that 
he would see the letters ; but I fully approve of your 
showing them to him, and also 1q the other persons 
whom you have mentioned. ( From the nature of 
the controversy, and precisely because Masonic 
Warfare is secret, I have determined to publish 
nothing against Masonry but under the responsibili- 
ty of my nameTl I have no right, however, to take 
the same liberties with the names of others, and 
shall carefully avoid using them without permission 
or special justifying reason. 

The nomination of Messrs. Wirt and EUmaker at 
Baltimore, is one of those prominent events, which 
have occurred since my letters to you were written. 
Mr. Miner has sent me a copy of a printed hand- 
bill, addressed to the citizens of Chester County, 
signed by himself and seventeen other Masons, 
heading a republication of Mr. Wirt's Letter to the 
Convention at Baltimore and declaring their concur- 


rence in every word and sentiment of that Letter. 
But that Letter most distinctly declares Mr. Wirt's 
approbation both of the End and the Means of the 
Antimasons ; the end being the abolition of Free- 
masonry, and the means the ballot-box against all 
adhering Masons and all neutrals. What part of 
my charges then does Mr. Miner mean to contest ? 

The declarations of General Peter B. Porter and 
W. B. Rochester have also been made public since 
the date of my Letters to you. What is there in 
my charges, that is not fully sanctioned by them ? 
They unequivocally advise the surrender of the 
charters. They say Mr. Clay thinks with them. 
Why has Mr. Clay refused to say so ? Delicacy ? 
Has Mr. Clay ever considered it a matter of delicacy 
for a candidate to give pledges of his opinions upon 
controverted points of political interest ? Does Mr. 
Clay scorn Antimasonry, like Mr. Walsh and Mr. 
Sargeant ? If he does, it is evident General P. B. 
Porter and W. B. Rochester do not. 

I am happy to find you do not. Mr. Wirt frankly 
tells the Baltimore Convention, that until two or 
three days before they met, he had considered AfUi* 
masonry as a farce, and wondered how such an 
excitement should have been blown up from what 
he thought so trifling a cause. He scorned Anti-'. 
masonry — why ? — because he knew nothing of the ' 
facts, and believed Masonic misrepresentations. : 



The moment the facts were disclosed to him, or 
rather the moment he could bring himself to turn 
his face to them, the scales fell from his eyes, he 
approves the end of the Antimasons, he approves 
their means. His case is the case of thousands and 
tens of thousands. Yet Mr. Wirt had sworn to keep 
the secrets of Masonry upon no less a penalty than 
the fate of Morgan. He had forgotten the secret, 
and perhaps the oath. ^How such a man as Mr. 
Wirt could ever have taken such an oath, and then 
^ forgotten it, is among the inscrutables and unac- 
countables of human conduct. 

The Antimasons of this Commonwealth have 
nominated Samuel Lathrop for Governor in the 
place of Mr. Lincoln. They first did me the honor 
to nominate me, but I declined. Governor Lincoln 
is my personal friend and I approve of his adminis- 
tration in general. I regretted that they did not 
nominate him. No answer accepting this nomina- 
tion has yet appeared from Mr. Lathrop^ Mr. Lin- 
coln will at all events be re-elected, for there is not 
a State in the Union where Masonry is so strong 
as in this. And the Masons will support Lincoln, 
though his answer to |)ie Antimasonic Committee is 
as severe against Masonry as any thing I have ever 
said or written. But there was something in his 
remarks upon 'Antimasonry which they took for 
scorn, though I did not« Their candidate is a man 


of excellent character, a warm federalist and hereto- 
fore the federal candidate for Goyernor. 

The State of Vermont is now purely Antimasonic 
in all its branches, with a Governor, Council and 
majority of the House of Representatives, elected as 
Antimasons against both Clay and Jackson Mason- 
ry« Vermont is the first State where this victory 
has been achieved. Yet it was not there that Mor- 
gan was murdered. 

I shall expect somewhat anxiously your exposition 
of facts conflicting with my statements. I know 
Mr. Stone of the New York Commercial believes 
that the kidnappers of Morgan did not at first intend 
to murder him. Perhaps he believes that the arrest 
of him for petty larceny was not connected with the 
project to kidnap him. I know too that he dwells 
much upon the alleged baseness of Morgan's moral 
character. I set the question of his character aside 
— but a charge of thejl against a man for neglecting 
lo return a borrowed shirt — what thance has char- 
acter against slander like that ? 

Very respectfully, your friend, 




Quincy, 17 October, 183L 

Dear Sir, — Your letter from Boston of 16 Sep- 
tember was duly received, and not immediately 
answered, chiefly from a doubt where to address a 
letter, which would reach you without delay at that 

The nomination of Candidates for the next elec- 
tion of President and Vice President of the United 
r States, by an unanimous vote, relieved me from the 
only apprehension I had previously entertained, that 
the Convention at Baltimore would not be able to 
agree in their choice. 

Much now depends, for the cause of Antimason- 
ry, perhaps every thing depends, upon the course 
pursued by the party in the approaching elections in 
the State of New York. I learn that in those of 
Pennsylvania, the present year will indicate rather a 
falling off from the cause, though no real defection 
of its supporters. In this Commonwealth the result 
may be the same. I shall regret this, because/ the 
more attentively I have observed the character of 
the Masonic Institution as it now exists in the Uni- 
ted States, the more thoroughly I am convinced that 
it is the greatest political evil with which we are 
now afflicted. ; 


The Antimasons in this State have concluded to 
support a Candidate against the present Governor, 
much to my regret. They did me the honor to 
nominate me, but I felt it my duty to decline the 
offer. They have nominated Samuel Lathrop, but 
it is doubted whether he will accept. The opinions 
of the present Governor are very decidedly against 
Masonry, and the opposition to him will deter many 
from joining the Antimasons, who would otherwise 
have voted with them. 

I pray your acceptance of the within Eulogy upon 
James Monroe, and am, 

Very respectfully. Dear Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 



Qnincy, 25 October, 1831. 

The Masonic and Antimasonic controversy drags 
along, deepening — ^widening — embittering, as it pro- 
ceeds. In proportion as the popular excitement 
against Masonry spreads, the Masons close their 
ranks and rally round their hideous idol. Ofjhs 
Antimasons, I wish that the discretion and the plain 
dealing and consistency were equal to the goo3ness 


of their cause. I cannot absolutely say they are 
hot, but I do not understand some of their recent 
movements and must wait to see their consequences 
before passing judgment upon them. It has been 
circulated by some of them here, as it was stated to 
you, that I had suggested to them the name of Mr. 
Wirt for their nomination at Baltimore, but it is not 
so. I much prefer the nomination of Mr. Wirt to 
that of Mr. McLean, which I fully expected ; but 
of the proceedings at Baltimore, there are rumors 
circulated by the Masonic party which I hope are 
without foundation. It is said among other things 
that the Convention were as equally divided be- 
tween Mr. Wirt and Mr. McLean as forty-one to 
thirty-eight, and that it is very doubtful whether the 
party will sustain the nomination of their Conven- 
tion. Here, an Antimasonic Convention did me 
the honor to nominate me for the office of Governor 
of this Commonwealth, but I felt it my duty to 
decline the nomination. They then nominated 
Samuel Lathrop, a very worthy man, but it is said 
that without declining their nomination, he has an- 
swered that he is and will be a warm supporter of 
Mr. Clay for the Presidency. They have not yet 
published either my answer or Mr. Lathrop's. 

About a month since, Edward IngersoU made in 
a letter to me some remarks upon this controversy, 
in answer to which I wrote him three letters, part 


of which, I informed him I might probably publish. 
I charged in the form of interrogation nine specific 
atrocious crimes, in the transactions connected with 
the murder of William Morgan, independent of all 
the subsequent judicial prevarications, contumacies 
and perjuries. I charged them not upon all individ- 
ual Masons, but upon the Masonic Institution, upon 
its Oaths^ Penalties and Secrets, and I asked him if 
my list of crimes was overcharged in number or 
measure, to reduce them to the standard of truth ; 
and if they were not chargeable upon Masonry^ to 
answer the reasons, which I gave him for so con- 
sidering them. Mr. Ingersoll, who avows himself 
Antimasonic in principle and feeling, has shown my 
letters to several persons, and among the rest to our 
friend Miner, who I understand has undertaken to 
reply to my letters in full. I learn further that your 
Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter are about to enter 
upon the arena and to make a powerful defence of 
Masonry. A principal object of my letters to 
Ingersoll was to hiing out the Masons upon the 
Morgan-murder crimes. Their tactics hitherto have 
been to smuggle them out of sight. Sheppard^s 
Defence speaks of the murder itself as doubtful, and 
styles it a mere drunken scrape at which Masons 
were present. The formal defence of Masonry by 
the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, says, they can- 
not tell whether Morgan was or was not murdered, 
for that they know nothing about it. So effectually 


have they, by their management of the Press, kept 
those transactions out of view, that thousands and 
thousands, like Mr. Wirt, have gone on year after 
year scorning and laughing at Antimasonry as a 
farce, and thinking Masonry a Sir Roger de Coverly 

^-^lub, because they could not look at the facts. My 
interrogatory specification of an Anti-Parnassus of 
crimes, was intended to bring the Masons to an issue 
upon the fact and the law, fairly out before the tri- 
bunal of the public. I have promised that if I do 
publish any part of my letters to IngersoU, they shall 
first appear in Mr. Miner's Village Record. Miner 
himself will reply to them, and between him and 
me I shall be content to stand alone; but if the 
Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania 
come down upon me, especially during the session 
of Congress, I shall want auxiliary force, and hope 
you will be in the field again. 

Vermont is now completely Antimasonic, because, 
from their proximity to the Morgan-murder, the facts 
have forced themselves upon the public eye in spite 

[ of all Masonic suppressions. The letters of General 
Peter B. Porter and W. B. Rochester give a fore- 
boding of the prospects of the New York elections 
now at hand. There is danger of a falling off in\ 
this State, owing to the Antimasonic nomination \ 
against Governor Lincoln. ''"^ 

Ever faithfully yours, 





Wuhington, 18 December, 1831. 

Mt Dear Sir, — I cannot forbear immediately to 
acknowledge the receipt of jour two kind letters of 
the 11th and 12th instants, although a heavy and 
quite unexpected burden of occupation, imposed 
upon me by the duties of the station in which I fear 
I have rashly permitted myself to be placed, will 
deprive me of the opportunity of which I did pro- 
pose to avail myself, of communicating with you 
upon one topic especially of transcendent interest to 
my mind. I mean neither more nor less than the 
Institution of Freemasonry in these United States. 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives of 
the United States has thought proper to appoint me 
Chairman of the Committee of Manufactures, a sta-, 
tion from which I have in vain endeavored to obtain 
a release. It will leave me little time for any thing ^ 
else, and particularly not for the review, which it \ 
was my purpose to take, of the Masonic controversy ( 
now in progress in our own and the neighboring 
States, and which I believe destined to produce 
consequences deeply affecting the interests, the 
happiness, and the liberties of our country. 


The design must for the present be postponed, 
and perhaps my undertaking would, at all events, 
have been premature. It is now a little more than 
five years since the true character of Freemdsonry^ 
as existing in this Union, was disclosed to the pub- 
lic eye. It first exploded by the catastrophe of one 
of the deepest tragedies that ever was enacted upon 
the scene of human being, exploded by a complica- 
tion of nine or ten of the most atrocious crimes that 
ever were conceived in human hearts or committed 
by human hands ; crimes committed not by men in 
the stations of life to which ignorance is a snare, 
intemperance a stimulant, or indigence a tempta- 
tion ; not by men under the instigations of malice or 
revenge ; but by men in the educated classes of 
society ; men who had been instructed in the duties 
of Christians and citizens ; men above the pressure 
of want ; men, in other respects and independent of 
their secret and mystical ties to this Institution, of 
fair and respectable lives ; men enjoying the c<Mifi- 
dence of their fellow-citizens and holding oflSces of 
trust committed to them by that confidence. 

We see these men, not in the solitary depravity 
of a single heart, but after repeated consultation in 
Lodges and Chapters, combined, and, for the com- 
mission of more than one of the crimes, abusing the 
sacred authority of the law, with which they had 
been invested for the furtherance and execution of 


jastice, to the commission of swindling, blander, 
theft, false imprisonment, man stealing, treachery^ 
arson, transportation of a citizen beyond the limits 
of his country^ and, to close the catalogue, ^11/ and 
midnighi murder^ 

Such was the first disclosure of the Secrets of 
Freeroasorary, — such was the practical disposition of 
its laws. The laws themselves were afterwards re- 
vealed. Ic was to prevent the revelation of them 
that all these crimes were committed^ and^ hy the \ 
retributive justice of Providence, it was the very ' 
commission of the crimes which brought the laws loj 

It is not then to Freemasonry as a secret society^ 
of mysteriously concerted operation and portentous 
power, of strangely mingled royal and priestly titles 
with fantastical fooleries of attire and pageantry, of 
ostentatious devotion and hidden carousals^ of char- 
ity and of revelry in the proportion of Sir John 
FalstafiPs tavern bill for bread and for sack ; it is 
sot to this Society, such as it was before the murder 
of William Morgan, that I intended to entreat your 
attention as a citizen, a Christian, a magistrate and 
a man« Freemasonry as known to the world before 
the commission of the Morgan-murder crimes, might 
sot be worthy of your attention. From the time 
when the crimes were committed, and the laws by 
which they were committed, were revealed, that a 


citizen of the United States should exist, who can 
ask himself, ^^ What is this to me ? '^ is as unac^ 
countable as the fascinations of Freemasonry itself. 
But the disclosure of the crimes and the disclo- 
sure of the laws were not enough — five years has 
the goyernment of New York been struggling, not 
as it ought instantly to have done, to strangle this 
hydra with unnumbered heads, but to execute upon 
the criminals a feeble and ineffectual justice. Five 
years in the face of this nation have Masonic sher- 
iffs, jurors and witnesses betrayed their duty to 
their country and their God, to screen the guilty 
from punishment ; five years have lodges, chapters 
and encampments aided and abetted in the conceal- 
ment of the crimes and in the escape of the crim- 
inals from justice ; while a gang of two hundred 
thousand Masons, firom every nook and comer of the 
Union, are joining in one concerted yell of persecu- 
tion ! persecution ! and certifying and swearing that 
they never took an oath incompatible with their 
duty to their religion or the laws of the land. ^^ In 
generalibus latet doltis," was the maxim of the old 
logicians. The denied of tjie Royal Arch oath is a 
miserable prevarication. (The Entered Apprentice's 
oath and penalty is itself a violation of all religion 
I and of the Constitution of our Commonwealth.^ To 
I say that such an oath is not to affect religion or 
politics, is to unite impossibilities. It is to take a 


firebrand in tbe hand, by thinking of the frosty 
Caucasus. The four Royal Arch Masons who sunk 
Morgan's body in the Niagara River, inflicted upon 
him the penalty of the Entered Apprentice's oath. 
Their names are known probably to every Lodge 
in the State of New York, but they cannot be con- 
victed, for none will testify, and the Grand Chapter 
at New York, which has the power of expulsion 
throughout the State, so far from expelling any one 
of the kidnappers or murderers of Morgan, has aided 
diem with money to support them in prison and to 
pay their fines. But I must abridge this letter. 
From the combined consideration of these three 

1. — ^The practical disclosure of the character and 
laws of Masonry by the Morgan-murder crimes. 

2. — ^From the subsequent disclosure of its written 
laws, oaths and penalties in literal conformity and 
obedience, to which these crimes were committed. 

3. — From the struggle of five years' duration 
between the government of New York to bring 
these crimes to punishment,* and the successful 
Masonic combination to defeat the law of the land 
and to screen the guilty from its power. 

From these combined considerations there appear 
to me to result solemn and sacred duties to every 
citizen of the Union, and especially to every citizen 
invested with authority. It was therefore that I com- 


menced this correspondence by the inquiry whether 
you was acquainted with the facts. They are 
known to few. I find by your answer, that some 
of them, not unimportant, are still unknown to you. 
The extent of the combination, preceding the mur- 
der of Morgan, is even now known only to the 
surviving accomplices in the guilt. Of the- four 
immediate perpetrators of the murder, one may yet 
reveal the horrid tale, the minute particulars of 
which are known to many worthy brothers of the 
craft. Much of Masonic participation, both before 
and after the fact, will probably never be known 
abroad from the recesses of the Lodge. / With these 
observations I have mingled no reference whatever 
to the Antimasonic party, their proceedings or their 
leaders. I look only to their cause ; and if that is 
under bad management, I can only express the hope 
that it may be more energetically taken into their 
owa hands by the virtuous and the wise. ^ 
I am, very respectfully, 

Dear Sir, 
Your friend and servant, 




Washington, 24 December, 183L 

Dear Sir, — The British Acts of Pariiament, to 
which I referred in our conversation the other even- 
ing are two, — 

1. Statute 37 George 3d, ch, 123, (19th July, 
1797,) making the administration of unlawful oaths 
felony, punishable by transportation for seven years. 

2. Statute 39 George 3d, eh. 79, for the suppres- 
sion of seditious societies, (12 July, 1799.) 

The fifth, sixth and seventh sections of this last 
statute except from its penalties, under very rigor- 
ous restrictions of police, the Lodges of Freemasons 
as they have long been usually held in Great Britain ; 
but not Chapters or Encampments. From Profes- 
sor Rolnson's book and other sources I have been 
informed that the Lodges usually held in Great 
Britain, never confer beyond the first three degrees 
in Masonry, and content themselves with avenging 
the murder of Hiram Abiff by those historical per- 
sonages Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum. I sought you 
yesterday, immediately after the adjournment of the 
House, in the Library of Congress and aftnwards at 
Gadsby's without success. It was to give you the 
above information concerning the British Statutes 
and to ask the favor of your company to dine with 


me to-morrow, Christmas day, at five o'clock. 
Let me expect you, and believe me your assured 



Washington, 30 June, 1832. 

Dear Sir, — I have received your kind letter and 
the elegant volume which you have done me the 
honor of addressing to me on the subject of Masonry 
and Antimasonry. Anticipating in the course of a 
few days a release from occupations, which deprive 
me at this moment of the power of perusing your 
work with the deep attention which the importance 
of the subject requires, I shall avail myself of the 
first hours at my disposal to devote them to that 
purpose. In the mean rime I cherish the hope that 
the influence of this comprehensive and impartial 
survey of the Masonic Institutions upon the public 
mind will contribute to induce the voluntary aban- 
donment or renunciation of it, which I have long 
thought and more firmly believe from day to day 
to be desirable for the peace and quiet of the 

I am, with great respect and esteem, 
Dear Sir, 
Your firiend and obedient servant, 




Quincy, 19 Aaguat, 1832. 

Dear Sir, — On receiving at Washington the 
volume of Letters upon Masonry and Antimasonrj, 
which you did me the honor of addressing to me, I 
wrote you a few lines of acknowledgment, with the 
assurance of my intention to read with deep atten- 
tion the work, to the composition and publication of 
which I felt great satisfaction in believing that I 
had contributed to give occasion. I have accord- 
ingly perused it with the most earnest solicitude, and 
the result has been not only a confirmed conviction 
that the Institution of Freemasonry ought in these 
United States to be totally and forever abolished, 
but that this event is a consummation devoutly to be 

In the three letters which I wrote about a year 
since to a friend in Philadelphia, and which were 
submitted to your perusal, I presented in the form 
of interrogation a list of nine atrocious crimes under 
the denomination of Morgan-Murder Crimes^ with 
the inquiry whether they had not been so committed 
as in a great degree to have lost the character of 
individual guilt in their perpetrators and to have 
assumed that of associate or corporate offences ; as 
conspiracies, in which numerous bodies of men con- 


stituting Lodges, Chapters and Encampments of 
Freemasons were implicated ; — and inquiring fur- 
ther, whether the commission of those crimes had 
not been previously instigated by the oaths admin- 
istered, the obligations imposed, and the penalties 
imprecated or denounced, in the ordinary forms of 
the admission of candidates to the numerously grad- 
uated hierarchy of Freemasonry. 

That these crimes had been committed — that the 
efficient impulse to the commission of them had been 
the Masonic Oaths, Obligations and Penalties — and 
that they were corporate crimes conceived, projected 
and matured for action in the Masonic deliberative 
bodies in the Western part of the State of New 
York, I firmly believe from a mass of irresistible 
evidence, which had been growing into certainty for 
a series of years. On the other hand many of the 
most important facts, both in relation to the commis- 
sion of the crimes and to the purport of the Masonic 
Oaths and Obligations, had been vehemently con- 
tested. A considerable number of seceders from 
Masonry had revealed all the secrets of all the de- 
grees, and all the Oaths and Obligations and Penal- 
ties, as established in the Lodges, Chapters and 
Encampments in all the region round where the 
murder had been perpetrated. The books of David 
Bernard and Avery Allyn, both seceding Knight 
Templars, had been published. Bernard had been 


admitted to the ineffable degrees in New York — 
Allyn at New Haven in Connecticut. The Rev. 
Moses Thacher and Pliny Merrick had declared 
that the Royal Arch Oath was in many Lodges in 
Rhode Island and Massachusetts administered with 
the words ^< murder and treason not excepted. '^ 
That it was so administered in the State of New 
York, had been testimony extorted and most reluct- 
antly given upon oath by Royal Arch Masons upon 
trials before Courts of Justice ; and yet, adhering 
Masons were solemnly declaring that they had taken 
no such oaths ; that they acknowledged no obligation 
incompatible with the laws of God or of the land ; 
that the only penalty ever inflicted was expulsion ; 
and that they did not believe the oaths and obliga- 
tions W€re otherwise understood by Masons every 

In the controversial condition of the facts upon 
the issue which seemed to have been made up be- 
tween the adhering and the seceding Masons, I had 
preferred stating them to our friend at Philadelphia 
in the form of interrogation, rather than to assume 
them as granted. He was a Mason, inclining to 
Antimasonry, but unwilling to join its political stand- 
ard. He knew little of what had taken place in the 
Western counties of the State of New York, and 
had been made to disbelieve the most prominent 
facts of the tale of horror connected with the fate of 



Morgan/ I was desirous if possible to keep myself 
en tirelj/disen tangled from all the Politics of Anti- 
masonry, but this was becoming exceedingly diffi- 
cult. I wished for a more perfect exposition of facts 
from a source fully informed ; from a person in whose 
candor and integrity I could place entire reliance, and 
M^ not so connected with either of the parties as to be 
under a bias disqualifying to the perception or to 
the judiciary faculty. I was well assured that I 
should find this in your book, and I have not been 
disappointed. J The book is marked with integrity 
and candor, which not even the fifth libation has 
been able to prevent. 

There is a lingering attachment to the Institution, 
as it had been in better days, like the affection of 
a parent, discovering in bitterness of soul the 
profligacy of a favorite child, which adds a double 
seal of confirmation to the disclosures which you 
have had the intrepidity to make and to sustain. 
There are many things in the volume, which I do 
not see as you do ; but the sincerity of your own 
conviction of the truth of all that you affirm is appa- 
rent in every page. I speak of the intrepidity of 
your disclosures, because I have not dissembled to 
myself the peculiar position in which you stand to- 
wards the Institution, both as a man and as a member 
of a responsible profession. I see you as neither an 
adhering nor a seceding Mason. I think I perceive 


the conflict in your own mind between the obliga- 
tion of Masonry which you had taken upon you, and 
the duties of your profession as the Editor of a 
public Journal — duties to the community at large, ^^y" 
which you had resolved never to compromise or to 
betray. I think 1 see that when you took the Oaths 
of the Entered Apprentice, the Master Mason, the 
Royal Arch and the Knight Templar, you little 
imagined the temptations, the trials and the dangers 
into which they were to lead you, by their conflict 
with your duties as a Man, a Christian and a Citi- 
zen. You seem scarcely to be aware even now that 
the trials through which you are passing originated 
there. You are unwilling to acknowledge it to 
yourself. But the trials are around you. You have 
betrayed no Masonic secret. You have forfeited no 
obligations of your own. But you have justly con- 
cluded that of what had been divulged by others it 
would be absurd to make longer a secret, and dis- 
honest to deny it as false. Yet you are in the midst 
of Brother Masons, men whom you respect and es- 
teem, who still hold themselves bound by the ties, 
which you consider as dissolved, who still tyle the 
lodge and swear the candidates upon horrible pen- 
alties to keep secrets now as common as the stairs 
that mount the capitol. These men look upon you 
as an unworthy brother, even if they have not dared 
to expel you. How will these men tolerate your 


exposure of the contrast between the public procla- 
mation and the secret appropriation of the Grand 
Royal Arch Chapter of the State of New York, at 
which upwards of one hundred and ten subordinate 
Chapters were represented in February, 1829, as 
detailed in your twenty-first letter? How will 
they endure your confirmation of the essential facts 
in Avery Allyn's afiidavit, that Richard Howard 
bad confessed himself the executioner of Morgan ? 
That he made this confession at an Encampment 
of Knights Templars at St. John's Hall in the City 
of New York, under the sealed obligation, and had 
then been furnished with money and means to ab- 
scond and go to Europe, as related in your twenty- 
second letter? How will they bear the twenty- 
fifth letter ? The account of the unblushing grant 
of money by the Grand Lodge of the State of New 
York to one of the most active Conspirators ? of the 
debates in which you bore a part? and of the ap- 
propriation, since which you have never crossed the 
threshold of a lodge room? You are still sur- 
rounded by members of the Grand Lodge, of the 
Grand Chapter, and of the Encampment at St. 
John's Hall. And although perhaps you may re- 
ceive no more letters from Washington like that of 
the 25th of February, 1827, there are other modes 
of hostility in which we well know that the Ma- 
sonic power can make itself felt. 


But if the boldness with which jou have dared to 
speak is not without its perils now, neither will it, I 
trust, be without its remembrance or its recompense 
hereafter. I believe your letters to be well adapted 
to promote a great National reform of morals in the 
abolition of Freemasonry, and the more extensively 
they are read, the more beneficial will be their 

This letter is confidential, and if satisfactory to 
you, may be followed by others suggested by the 
information contained in your book, and perhaps 
discussing some of your opinions. The Masonic 
controversy will form a large chapter in the Annals 
of this Union probably for several years to come. It^ 
presents already a prominent feature in the canvass 1 
for the Presidential Election, and that is precisely j 
the reason for wishing to meddle as little with it as t 
possible until that question shall have been settled.^ 
It will assuredly survive that event, and in all proba-^ 
bility will form an essential ingredient in more than, 
one quadrennial choice of President, if more thanj 
one we are destined to have. It is my deliberate^ 
opinion that the Antimasonic party ought not to 
subside, or to suspend its exertions, till Freemasonry 
shall have ceased to exist in this country. The 
career before them is long and dreary, but not dis- 
couraging. The object is single, just and honora- 
ble. You have put your hand to the plough. Let 


it not be withdrawn. For contributing so largely 
to the end, you will deserve to be ranked among the 
benefactors of mankind. 

I am, very respectfully, your friend, 



Quincy, 25 August, 1832. 

Dear Sir, — In my last letter I observed, with the 
freedom and candor which I thought due to you as 
the best return I could make for the honor and obli- 
gation you had conferred upon me, by addressing to 
me your Letters upon Masonry and Antimasonry, 
that there were many things in the book which I 
did not see as you did. 

Some further explanation is due from me upon the 
subject. (The principal objects of your book were 
two. First, to vindicate the character of an. ejni- 
nent and illustrious citizen of New York, the late 
Governor of the State, De Witt Clinton, from the 
opprobrium cast upon him, of having been person- 
ally and deeply concerned in the murder of Morgan ; 
and, secondly, to prove, by a fair and impartial 
statement of the abuses to which the Masonic Insti- 
tutions have been perverted, that they ought to be 
voluntarily surrendered and abolished. 


These objects were just and laudable. They are 
in your volume faithfully pursued ; nor is there in 
the execution of your |dan, any thing in the letters 
unsuitable or redundant. You observe, in the first 
letter, that it is no part of your design to write a 
vindication of Freemasonry as such, — but to de^ 
scribe Freemasonry as you received, understood and 
practiced it yourself, and as it has been received, 
understood and practiced by hundreds of virtuous 
and intelligent men, with whom you have associated 
in the lodge room. To this, the first ten letters are 
devoted, and they are, in my estimation, not less 
valuable than those which succeed them. But as 
Bishop Watson wrote an Apology for the BlUe, I 
trust you will not consider me as intending any dis- 
paragement to that part of your work, if I consider 
it in the light of an Apology for Freemasonry, as re* 
ceived, understood and practiced by yourself and 
many others. In that light it is exceedingly well 
adapted to its purpose. It is the only rational plea 
for the institution that I have seen, since this con- 
troversy began ; for all the other defences of the 
handmaid, which have come to my knowledge, have 
smacked too much of the obligation to come to the 
aid of a distressed brother, and extricate him from 
his difficulties, right or wrongs to pass for any thing 
other than aggravations of the Morgan-murder 



You have taken all the degrees to, and including 
that of, the Knight Templar.SThe oaths, obliga- 
tions and penalties, as administered to, and under- 
stood by you, contained nothing incompatible with 
your duties to your country and your kind. What- 
ever there might be in them, apparently incongru- 
ous with the prior and paramount duties of the citi- 
zen and Christian, was explained and given in 
charge in such manner as to be made entirely sub- 
ordinate to them. The obligations, as understood 
hy you, are all auxiliaries to Christian benevolence 
and patriotism, and so they are undoubtedly under- 
stood by great multitudes of Masons, in all parts of 
the United States. That they are otherwise under- 
stood, also, by multitudes of the worthy brethren of 
the craf^ (worthy according to the Masonic meaning 
of the word), is apparent in every page of your 

In your third letter, p. 23, you allude to an opin- 
ion which I once expressed to you in the following 
terms : — ^^ You, sir, have assured me that the obliga- 
tions supposed to be administered in conferring the 
first degree is quite enough, in your view, to estab- 
lish the wicked character of the institution.'' 

Whether I did make use of terms quite so strong in 
the freedom of unrestrained conversation, or whether 
your reference to it is by inference of your own, 
from words not quite so comprehensive, is not ma- 


terial. The sentiment which I do recollect to have 
expressed, and which is rooted in my conviction was, 
** that the Entered Apprentice's oath, obligation and 
annexed penalty, was in itself vicious — and such as 
ought never to be administered by man to man." 
That no explanation of it could take away its es- 
sentially immoral character — and that the institution 
of Freemasonry, requiring absolutely the administra- 
tion of it to every candidate for admission, necessa- 
rily shared in its immorality. 

In saying this, I disclaim all intention of censure 
upon any individual who has ever taken this oath. 
I consider it according to its own import — stripped 
of all warrant of authority from the great names of 
illustrious men who may have taken it. 

My objections to it are these : — 

First : That it is an extrajudicial oath, and, as 
such, contrary to the laws of the land. 

Secondly : That it is a violation of the precept of 
Jesus Christ — Swear not at all. 

Thirdly: That this oath pledges the candidate, 
in the name of God, that he will always hail, for 
ever conceal and never reveal any of the secret artSy 
parts or points of the mysteries ^^ of Freemasonry, to 
any person under the canopy of heaven, except it 
shall be to a true and lawful Mason, or within the 
body of a just and regular lodge of such ; and not 
unto him or them until after due trial, strict exami- 


nation, or bj the lawful information of a brother, I 
shall hare found him or them as justly and lawfully 
entitled to the same as I am myself." 

The arts, parts, points and mysteries of Masonry 

are afterwards, in the oath, denominated the secrets 

af the craft. These are all general and indefinite 

terms. The candidate, when he takes the oath, is 

kept in total ignorance of what these secrHs of the 

trqft consist. He knows not the nature nor extent 

of the oath that he takes. He is sworn to keep 

I secret he knows not what. The general assurance 

[ diat it is not to affect his religion or politics, is the 

; m^e word of another man. The assurance that it 

is not to interfere with any of Bis duties,'^'but a 

mockery, when the administration oi the oath itself 

is a Yiolaiion of law. 

He swears to reveal the secrets of the craft to no 
person under the canopy of heaven, except to a 
brother Mason, or a Lodge. The single exception 
expressed, is an exclusion of all others. There is 
no exception for the authority of law, or for the 
confession enjoined upon the Catholic brethren by 
their religion. I use this illustration to show, that 
the intrinsic import of the oath is incompatible with 
law, civil and religious. 

Now what these secrets of the craft are, to the 
keeping of which the candidate, thus ignorant of 
tkiek import, is sworn, is never defined. Thiey^are 


differently understood by different Masons. The 
oatEsj obligations and penalties themselves, have, 
until very recently, been understood, I believe, uni- 
versally to form a part of these secrets. Those of 
the first three degrees were first revealed by the 
publication of Morgan's book ; those of the subse- 
quent degrees, to that of the thrice illustrious Order 
of the Cross, were divulged by the Convention of 
the seceding Masons at Le Roy, on the 4th of July, 
1828. Those in Morgan's book I understand to be 
admitted on all hands to be correct. But with re- 
gard to the obligations of the Red Cross Knights, 
and the Templars, as disclosed by that Convention, 
you say that, although you have received those de- 
grees, and assisted in conferring them, you know of 
no such obligations in any degrees. Your impres- 
sion is, that they must have been devised westward 
of Albany, and imposed upon candidates without 
the sanction of any governing body. You do not 
question the correctness of the publication of these 
degrees by the Convention of seceding Masons. 
You are authorized to state, that when the forms 
of those obligations were received in the city, 
measures were taken by the Grand Encampment to 
ascertain whether any Encampment under its juris- 
diction had, in fact, ever administered any such ob- 
ligations, and, if so, where and by whom they had 
been imposed. 


It is earnestly to be hoped that the Grand En- 
campment will sincerely and seriously pursue this 
inquiry, and make known the result of their re- 
searches to the world. In the mean time, observe 
the inferences to be drawn from this extreme diver- 
sity of the terms and import of the obligations as 
administered in different lodges, chapters and en- 
campments ; but all under the sanction of this tre^ 
mendous oath of the Entered Apprentice — all secu- 
red by this soul-shackling pledge, given in advance, 
and in ignorance of what they are to be, and all 
riveted by the penalty to which I shall next advert. 
Fourthly : " All this, I promise and swear — bind- 
ing myself under no less penalty than that of hav- 
ing my throat cut across from ear to ear, my tongue 
torn out by its roots, and my body buried in the 
rough sand of the sea, at low water mark, where the 
tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours." 
/ We have been told, over and over again, that this 
I is understood by Masons to be merely an invocation 
"^^ — and the committee of investigation of the Legis- 
lature of Rhode Island have gravely told the world 
that the explanation given by Masons to this penali- 
ty is, ^< that I would rather have, or sooner have, my 
throat cut, than to reveal," &c. It is unfortunate 
that this explanation is in direct contradiction to the 
plain and unequivocal import of the words of the 
oath. The oath incurs the penalty for its violation. 


The explanation promises fidelity, though at the ex^ 
pense of life. The oath imprecates the death of a 
traitor, as a penalty for treachery. The explanation ^""^ 
claims a crown of martyrdom for constancy. If Ben- 
edict Arnold had been taken in the act of treason to 
his country, he would have suffered no less a penalty 
than death, — though not the barbarous and brutal 
death of the Masonic obligation. When Joseph 
Warren suffered death on Bunker's Hill, is there an 
explanatory Mason who dare tell you that he suf- 
fered a penalty? Yet so it is, that the Masonic 
oath, and its explanation, confound all moral dis- 
tinctions to the degree of considering the death of a 
martyr and the death of a traitor as one and the 
same thing. 

This explanation of the penalty annexed to the 
Entered Apprentice's oath, it must be acknowledged, 
is not ingenuous — it is not even ingenious. It is a 
grand hailing sign of distress ; or it is a Masonic 
murder of the English language. 

I say this with the less hesitation, because, in 
your seventh letter, containing your defence of the 
Masonic obligations, you have disdained to take this 
preposterous explanation of the Rhode Island Ma- 
sons. You know too well the import of words. 
You candidly avow that the oaths and obligations / 
are out of season — out of reason — and ought to be 
abolished. I will, therefore, forbear to press upoa 


you the still grosser absurdity of the pretended 
Rhode Island explanation, when applied to the 
Master Mason's and Royal Arch penalties. The 
Master Mason's penalty is to have his body severed 
in two in the midst, and divided to the north and 
south, his bowels burnt to ashes in the centre, and 
the ashes scattered before the four winds of heaven, 
that there might not the least track or trace of remem- 
brance remain among men or Masons of so vile and 
perjured a wretch^ as I should be. And this, accord- 
ing to the Rhode Island explanation, is to be the 
consequence of his dying like Hiram AbifT, rather 
than betray the Masonic secrets. 

. My fifth objection is to the horrible ideas, of which 

I the penalty is composed. It is an oath of which a 
I common cannibal should be ashamed. Even in the 
barbarous ages of antiquity. Homer tells you, that 
when Achilles dragged the dead body of Hector 
round the walls of Troy, it was a dishonest deed 
— dsixea ftrjdsjo Bgya — and Plato scvcrcly ceusurcs 
Homer for even introducing this incident into his 
poem. A mangled body, after death, was a thought 
y' disgusting even to heathens. From the very 
thoughts, and still more from the lips, of a Christian, 
it should be forever excluded, like indelicacy from 
the mouth of a female. \The Constitution of the 
United States, and of Massachusetts, prohibit the 
infliction of cruel or unusual punishments, even by 


the authority of the law. ^But no butcher would 
mutilate the carcass of sHsullock or a swine, as the 
Masonic candidate swears consent to the mutilation 
of his own, for the breach of an absurd and senseless 
secret. I cannot assent to jour denomination of 
these penalties as idle or unmeaning words. They 
are words of too much meaning — of hideous signifi- 
cancy. The Masons are bound for their own honor 
to expunge them from their records for ever. Would 
that they could be expunged from the language, 
dishonored by their introduction into its forms of 

I remain, very respectfully, your friend, 



Qaincy, 29 August, 1832. 

Dear Sir,— Long, and, I fear, tedious, as you 
have found my last letter, I was compelled by a 
reluctance at making it longer, to compress the ob- 
servations in it upon the intrinsic nature of the 
Masonic oaths, obligations and penalties, within a 
compass insufficient to disclose my opinion, and the 
reasons upon which it is founded. 

I had said to you that the institution of Freema- 
sonry was vidousy in its first step, the initiation 




oath^ obligation and penalty of the Entered Appren- 
tice. To sustain this opinion, I assigned to you five 
reasons — Because they were, . 

1. Contrary to the laws of the land — extrajudi- 
cially taken and administered. 

2. In violation of the positive precept of Jesus 

3. A pledge to keep undefined secrets, the 
swearer being ignorant of their nature. 

4. A pledge to the penalty of death /or violation 
of the oath. 

5. A pledge to a mode of death, cruel, unusual, 
unfit for utterance from human lips. 

If, in the statement of these five objections, upon 
principles of law, religion and morals, there be any 
thing unsound, I invite you to point it out. But if 
you contest either of my positions, I must entreat 
you not to travel out of the record. 

I might ask you not to consider it a refutation of 
either of these reasons, to say that you and all other 
honest and honorable Masons have never so under- 
stood or practiced upon this oath, obligation and 
penalty. \ The inquiry is, not what your practice, or 
that of others has been ; but what is the obligation, 
its oath and its penalty. ( 

I must request of you to give me no explanation 
of this oath, obligation and penalty, directly contra- 
ry to their unequivocal import; that you will not 


explain black by saying that it means whitCy or even 
by alleging that you so understand it. I particularly 
beg not to be told that honorable, intelligent and 
virtuous men, George Washington and Joseph War- 
ren for example, understood that the penalty of death 
for treachery meant the death of martyrdom for 

I would willingly be spared the necessity of re- 
plying to the averment that the patterns of honor 
and virtue whom I have just named, with a long 
catalogue of such men, have taken this oath, and 
bound themselves to this obligation, under this pen- 
alty. For I might deem it proper to inquire, 
whether the very act of binding such men, by such 
oath, to such obligation, under such penalty, is not 
among the sins of the institution. 

I must ask you to suppose that such institution 
kad never existed — that it were now to be formed, 
and that you were one of ten or twenty virtuous and 
intelligent men, about to found a charitable and con- 
vivial secret association. Suppose a committee of 
such a meeting appointed to draw up a constitution 
for the society, should report the Entered Appren- 
tice's oath, obligation and penalty, as a form of 
initiation for the admission of members. I do not 
ask you whether you would vote for the acceptance 
of the report ; but what would you think of the 
reporters ? 


I consider this as the true and only test of the 
inherent and essential character of Masonry, and it 
was under this conviction, that I told you that the 
Entered Apprentice's oath was sufficient to settle, 
in my mind, the immoral character of the institu- 

It is, perhaps, too much to ask of you an explicit 
assent to these positions, because you may consider 
it an acknowledgment of error. But this is the first 
and fundamental consideration, from which I draw 
the conclusion that Masonry ought forever to be 
abolished. It is wrong— essentially wrong — a seed 
of evil, which can never produce any good. It may 
perish in the ground — it may never rise to bear 
fruit ; but whatever fruit it does bear must be rank 
poison; it can never prove a blessing but by its 

My objections to this seminal principle of Mason- 
ry apply, in sdl their fmrce, to the single obligation, 
the form of which is given in the Appendix to your 
volume, (page 3,) where it is stated to have been 
the only obligation, taken for all three degrees, so 
late as 1730, when only three degrees of Masonry 
were known. The oath is in fewer words, but 
more comprehensive ; for the obligation is to keep 
"<Ae secrets or secrecy of Masons or Masonry.^^ 
There is indeed a qualification in the promise not 
to write, print, mark, &c., which seems to keep the 


obligation within the verge of the law. For the 
promiss is to reveal nothing whereby the secret 
might be unlawfully obtained. The penalty is also 
death, not for constancy, but for treachery, '^ so that 
there shall be no remembrance of me among Ma- 

This oath, obligation and penalty, the only one 
taken in all the degrees of Masonry known but one 
century ago, is the prolific parent of all the degrees, 
and all the oaths, obligations and penalties since in- 
vented, and of the whole progeny of crimes descend- 
ed from them. The natural and unavoidable ten- 
dency of such an obligation is the multiplication of 
its kind. This tendency is among the most obvious 
causes which have led to the interdiction of all such 
oaths and obligations, by the civil, the ecclesiastical 
and the moral law. The o bligation is to keep un- 
defined secrets. As they are undefined in the obli- 
gation itself, there is nothing in the constitutions of 
Masonry to define them, or to secure uniformity 
either oTIthe secrets or of the obligations. Every 
lodge may vary the secrets, obligations and penal- 
ties ; and, accordingly, they have been so varied, 
that scarcely any two adhering Masons give the 
same account of them. Almost the only defence of 
Masonry, after the publication of the books of David 
Bernard and Avery Allyn, consisted in efibrts to 
discredit them, by denying that the oaths, obliga- 


tions and penalties, were truly stated by them. A 
secret institution in three degrees ; the secret of 
^ch degree being withheld from the members of the 

/degrees inferior to it, is a perpetual temptation to 
the initiated to multiply the secrets and the degrees. 
Thus it is that the lodges have grown into chapters 
•—the chapters into encampments — the encampments 
into consistories; and, so long ago as December, 
1802, the Grand Inspectors of the United States 
of America issued, at Charleston, South Carolina, 
a circular, announcing the existence and the names 
of thirty-three degrees of Masonry. 
r The secrets, to the keeping of which the Entered 
Apprentice is sworn, are indefinite. In genuine 
Masonry, when revealed to him, he finds them friv- 
olous. You acknowledge that your first feeling 

^upon receiving them was disappointment. So must 
it be with every reflecting, intelligent man ; nor is 
it conceivable that any such Entered Apprentice, on 
leaving the lodge after his admission, should fail to 
have observed, with pain and mortification, the con- 
trast between the awful solemnity of the oath which 
he has taken, and the extreme insignificance of the 
i secrets revealed to him. It is to meet this unavoid- 

rable impression, that the institution is graduated. 
The lure of curiosity is still held out, and its attrac- 
I tive power is sinewed, by the very disappointment 
'^ which the apprentice has experienced. He takes 


the degrees of Fellow Craft and Master Mason, and 
still finds disappointment — still finds himself bound 
by tremendous oaths to keep trifling and frivolous 
secrets. The practice of the institution is deceptive 
and fraudulent. It holds out to him a promise 
which it never performs. Its promise is light — its 
performance is darkness. 

.—-Btrrlf introduces him to intimate, confidential and 
exclusive relations, with a select and limited circle 
of other men — and to the same confidential and ex- 
clusive relations, with great multitudes of men, be* 
longing to every civilized nation throughout the 
globe. The Entered Apprentice's oath is merely an 
oath of secrecy — but the candidate who takes it, has 
pledged himself, by his application for admission, to 
conform to all the ancient established usages and 
customs of the fraternity. And the charge of the 
Master, giv^en him upon the Bible, compass and 
square, presents him with three precious jewels, — a 
listening ear^ a silent tongue and a faithful hearty — 
all, of course, exclusively applicable to the secrets 
revealed to him ; and he is told that the listening 
ear teaches him to listen to the instructions of the 
Worshipful Master ; but more especially to the cries 
of a worthy distressed brother ; and that the faithful 
heart teaches him to be faithful to theinstructions 
of the Worshipful Master at all times, but more 
especially to keep and conceal the secrets of Mason* 


ry, and those of a brother ^ when given to him in 
charge as such, that thej may remain as secure and 
inviolable in his (the Entered Apprentice's) breast, 
as in his (the brother's) own. Two check words 
are also presented to him, — truth and union^ — the 
explanation of which concludes that the heart and 
tongue of Freemasons join in promoting each other^s 
welfare, and rejoicing in each other's prosperity. 

Thus the essential nature of the Entered Appren- 
tice's oath, preceded by his pledge to conform to all 
the established usages and customs of the fraternity, 
and followed by the charge of the Master, is secret 
and 6xcZu5ii7e ^ favor, assistance and fidelity to the 
brotherhood and brothers of the craft. 

Now combine together the disappointment which 
every intelligent accepted Mason must feel, at the 
puerility of the secrets revealed to him, compared 
with the appalling solemnity of the oath exacted 
from him for the purchase of his lambskin apron, and 
the secret ties with which he has linked himself 
with multitudes of other men, exclusively to favor, 
assist and be faithful to each other, and acknowledge 
that the temptation to make the secrets more im- 
portant, and to turn them to better account to the 
craft, must be irresistible. Judge this system a priori, 
without reference to any of the consequences which 
it has produced, and say if human ingenuity could 
invent an engine better suited to conspiracy of any 


kind. /The Entered Apprentice returns from the 
lodge with his curiosity stimulated, his imagination 
bewildered, and his reason disappointed. The 
mixture of religion and rooralitj, blended with false- 
hood and imposture, which pervade all the ceremo- 
nies of initiation, is liiie arsenic mingled up with 

balm, j 

'^Most dangerous 
Ib that temptation which doth lead as on 
To sin, in loving virtue." 

If the candidate has been educated to a sincere 
and heart-felt reverence for religion and the Bible, 
and if he exercises his reason, he knows that all the 
tales of Jachin and Boaz, of Solomon's Temple, of 
Hiram Abiff and Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum, are 
impostures — poisons poured into the perennial foun- 
tain of truth — traditions exactly resembling those 
reprobated by Jesus Christ, as making the word of 
God of none effect. If, as in this age but too often 
happens, he enters the lodge a skeptic, the use of the 
Bible there, if it have any effect upon him, will turn 
him out a confirmed infidel. The sincere and ra- 
tional believer in the gospel can find no confirmation 
of his faith in the unwarrantable uses made of the 
Holy Scriptures to shed an unction of their sanctity 
around the fabulous fabric of Freemasonry ; while 
the reprobate miscreant will be taught the uses to 
which fraud and secrecy may turn the lessons of 



piety and virtue, inculcated in the sublimest effu- 
sions of divine inspiration. In those Scriptures we 
are told, that when ^^ the children of Israel did se- 
cretly those things that were not right against the 
Lord their God," they became idolaters, and were 
carried into captivity. Their cities then were soon 
filled with a mongrel race of Babylonians and Assy- 
rians, who perverted the word of God with the im- 
postures of paganism ; burnt their children in fire, 
to the gods of Sepharvaim ; and ^^ feared the Lord, 
and served their graven images ; " — an emblem of 
Freemasonry, far more illustrative of its character 
than the tragedy of Hiram k\^S. 

The Entered Apprentice's oath is, therefore, in 
its own nature, a seminal principle of conspiracy — 
and this objection applies to the only oath originally 
taken in all the degrees of Freemasonry at its first 
institution. The ostensible primitive purposes of 
Freemasonry were all comprised in good fellowship. 
But to good fellowship, whether of labor or refresh- 
ment, neither secrecy, nor oath, nor penalties are 
necessary or congenial. In the original institution 
of Freemasonry, there was then an ostensible and 
a secret object, and, by the graduation of the order, 
the means were supplied of converting it to any evil 
purpose of associated power, screened from the dan- 
ger of detection. Hence all the bitter fruits which 
the institution has borne in Germany, in France, in 


Mexico, and, lastly, in this our beloved country. 
Nor could they have failed to be produced in Great 
Britain, but that, by sharp and biting statutes, they 
have been confined within the limits of the ostensi- 
ble object of the brotherhood — good fellowship. 
I am, with much respect. Dear Sir, 

Your friend and servant, 



• Quincy, September, 1832. 

Dear Sir, — In my two preceding letters you 
have seen my objections drawn from the fountains 
of law, religion and morals, against the first step of 
Freemasonry — the oath, with its obligation and pen- 
alty, administered to the Entered Apprentice, at his 
initiation. You will certainly understand that, in 
this denunciation of the thing, it is not my intention 
to include a charge against any individual who has 
ever taken the oath — as, on the other hand, I ex- 
clude all palliation or justification of it, upon the 
mere authority of the great names of men by whom 
it has been taken. 

It is a pledge of faith from man to man, solem- 
nized by an appeal to God, and fortified by the ex- 
press assent of the swearer to undergo the penalty of 


death, and mutilation at or after death, for its viola- 
tion. Such it is in itself, and no explanation can, 
without doing violence to the natural connection be- 
tween thought and language, take away this its 
essential and unequivocal import. 
tr^The objections are, 1. To the oath; 2. To the 
[^promise ; 3. To the penalty. 

/I. To the oath J as a double violation of the law 
Ayf the land, and of the law of God. Upon this there 
/ appears, by your seventh letter, to be very little, if 
any, difference of opinion between you and me. 
The principles assumed and admitted in the intro- 
duction to your seventh letter, are unciuestionably 
correct with reference to law, to religion and morals 
— and it is equally clear that they are all disregarded 
in the administration of the Masonic oaths. It is a 
vice of the institution, which no example can justify, 
and which no sophistry can extenuate. Your ac- 
knowledgment is magnanimous — your argument is 

But if the administration of the oath is, of itself, 
a violation of the laws both of God and man, as well 
by him who administers as by him who takes it, is 
it not a further mockery of both, for the Master, in 
the very act of transgressing the laws, and of sub- 
orning the candidate to transgress them with him, 
to say to him, ^^ This obligation is not intended to 
interfere with your duty to yourself, your neighbor. 


your couQtry or your God ? " Is there not falsehood 
and hypocrisy superadded to the breach of the law, 
and profanation of the name of God, in the injunc- 
tion and explanation itself ? He calls upon the can-^ 7 
didate to perform an unlawful act ; and he tells him, / 
that it is not to interfere with his religion or politics, 1 
or, with deeper duplicity, that it is to interfere with / 
none of his civil, moral or religious duties. This 
self-contradiction of word and deed is the very es- 
sence of all sanguinary religious fanaticism. It is 
the very vital spark of the spirit which armed with 
daggers the hands of Ravaillac and Balthasar Gi- 
rard. Under the excruciating pangs of the torture, 
Ravaillac, to his last gasp, protested that he thought 
he was serving God by the assassination of a king 
who was about to declare war against the pope ; 
and he signed his name to one of the interrogatories 
at his trial — Francois Ravaillac — 

Qae toujoiirs dans mon ccear 
Jesus soit le vainqueur. 

"In my heart, for ever, may 
Jesus hold conquering sway." 

If the murder of Henry the Fourth of France had 
been concerted in a Masonic lodge room, and the 
Master had administered to the perpetrator, as a 
part of his oath, the obligation to commit that deed, 
he might, with just as much reason and consistency, 


have assured him that this oath would not interfere 
with his religion or politics, or with his duty to him- 
self, his neighbor, his country, or his God, as the 
Master of a Masonic lodge can now give such an as- 
surance to a candidate for admission, before admin- 
istering to him the oath of an Entered Apprentice. 

2. To ihejprpmise. 

The promise is to keep the secrets of Masonry, 
and never to reveal them to any human being, not 
already initiated. I have already objected that this 
promise is indefinite. The promiser knows not the 
nature of the secrets which he is sworn to keep ; 
nor are they ever explained to him. In your seventh 
letter (p. 71), you have explicitly stated your own 
understanding of what the secrets were, and that 
you have always found your intelligent brethren 
ready to concur in that opinion. Your definition of 
themes so clear and satisfactory, that, if it were in 
its very terms so explained by the Master, before 
administering the oath, this objection would be re- 

" The essential secrets of Masonry '' (you say) 
" consisted in nothing more than the signs, grips, 
passwords and tokens, essential to the preservation 
of the society from the inroads of impostors, togeth- 
er with certain symbolical emblems, the technical 
terms appertaining to which served as a sort of uni- 
versal language, by which the members of the 


fraterDlty could distinguish each other, in all places 
and countries where lodges were instituted and con- 
ducted like those of the United States." 

In NOTHING MORE. But uo such explanation is 
ever given to the candidate for admission, when the 
oath is administered to him, or ever afterwards — and 
you very candidly admit that this is not the under- 
standing entertained of the secrets of Masonry, by 
" the foolbh brethren.'' Now, herein consists my 
objection to the promise. It is to keep secret, he 
knows not what — he never knows — ^and this in- 
definiteness is essential to preserve the graduation 
of tbe order. It is essential to keep alive the ctin- 
osiiji of the candidate, who, at each degree that 
he attains, is always comforted in his disappoint- 
ment by the assurance that there is, in the next 
degree, a secret worth knowing. 

If it be said that the exaction of a promise to 
keep a secret must necessarily precede the commu- 
nication of the secret itself, and that, therefore, no 
promiser can know, in advance, what it is that he 
pledges himself to keep secret, I reply, that my ob- 
jection is to the indefiniteness not only of the secret 
itself, but of the promise. Jurors in courts of law 
are sworn to keep secret the counsels of their fellows 
and their own. The juror, to be sure, knows not 
what the counsels of his fellows will be, when he 
swears to keep them secret, but he knows that they 


cannot extend beyond the line of their duty to 
decide the matter committed to them — and there is 
nothing indefinite in the obligation from the mo- 
ment when it becomes binding upon him. The 
Masonic swearer is ignorant of the extent both of 
his oath and of his promise — and after his admis- 
sion, he still is never informed what are the secrets 
which he has been sworn to keep. 

In your enumeration of the essential secrets of 
the order, you do not include the oaths themselves, 
as administered to the candidates for admission. 
These, therefore, are not secrets which any Mason 
is bound to keep. But has this been the under- 
standing of intelligent Masons heretofore ? Why, 
then, have the forms of the oaths never been made 
public, in the Masonic books published by authority, 
or without objection from the order ? Why have 
they become so different in different places? Why, 
in all the trials which have arisen from the murder 
of Morgan, and in which evidence of the forms of 
those oaths, obligations and penalties was essential 
to the issue, have not authenticated copies of them 
been produced in court by the Masonic witnesses 
themselves? In Massachusetts, in Vermont, in 
Rhode Island, there have been numerous defences 
of Masonry, by individual Masons and Masonic 
lodges, very indignantly denying, that they ever 
took or administered the obligations with the words 


" murder and treason not excepted,'' and generally 
denying that they were under any obligations con- 
trary to the laws of God, or of their country ; but, 
anxious as they have all been to fix the charge of 
slander upon Avery Allyn and David Bernard, and 
to make the world believe that the forms of Masonic 
oaths, obligations and penalties, disclosed in their 
books, were fabrications of their own, never used 
by any Masonic body — still, in no single instance, 
have they ever produced or certified to the oaths, 
obligations and penalties as used or administered by 
themselves, until the investigation instituted last 
winter, by the legislature of Rhode Island, and con- 
ducted in a spirit so friendly to Masonry, and so 
adverse to Antimasonry, that it could scarcely have 
been more so, had every member of the investi- 
gating committee but one, been himself an adhering 
Mason. In that investigation, the committee, like 
yourself, considered the secrets of Masonry to con- 
sist of the signs, grips, passwords and emblematical 
figures of speech, and no more — and, with regard 
to these, they indulged the brotherhood, by not in- 
quiring into them, by interrogation of adhering 
Masons — giving notice that they should take all 
these profound mysteries to have been correctly set 
forth in the books of Allyn and Bernard, unless 
positive testimony to the contrary should be volun- 
tarily offered by adhering Masons. 


But the committee did require testimony from the 
adhering Masons, of the oaths, obligations and pen- 
alties, as taken in the lodges, chapters and encamp- 
ments in Rhode Island, and it was given. The 
Appendix to the Report of the committee contains 
this evidence, and authenticates upon full, adhering 
Masonic authority, the oaths, obligations and penal- 
ties, as taken and administered in Rhode Island, of 
eleven degrees, from the Entered Apprentice to the 
Royal Master. 

It is, therefore, to the indefiniteness of the prom- 
ise in this authenticated obligation of the Entered 
Apprentice, that I take my first objection — and this 
indefiniteness is not only intrinsic in the terms of 
the obligation itself, but is aggravated by the previ- 
ous pledge of the candidate to conform to the estab- 
lished usages and customs of the order, and by the 
charge given by the Master who administers the 
oath, which charge enjoins it upon the candidate as 
a duty to obey the instructions of the Master of the 
lodge, and to keep the secrets of a brother Mason, 
committed to him as such. The obligation includes 
also the pledge to keep secret the transactions of 
the lodge — without exception. 

There are thus, according to the understanding 
of the Rhode Island Masons, and to yours, three 
distinct classes of secrets, to which every accepted 
Mason was bound : First, to the secrets of Masonry, 


consisting only of the signals of communication and 
tokens of mutual recognition between the members 
of the fraternity ; secondly, the secrets of brother 
Masons, communicated as such ; and, thirdly, the 
transactions in the lodge. And of these, you and 
they consider the first class only as essential to the 
order. But what is the principle of this distinction ? 
None such is found in the oaths themselves, nor in 
any of the Masonic books, nor in the charges given 
by the Master to the candidate for admission. 
Does the promise of secrecy given by the Entered 
Apprentice extend to the transactions of the lodge ? 
It does not, in the terms of the oath. It does not, 
by the practice of the Rhode Island lodges; for 
they enjoin this portion of the secrets by their by- 
laws upon the penalty of expulsion, but those same 
by-laws contain no provision whatever for the viola- 
tion of the essential secrets. In all the oaths and 
obligations subsequent to the degree of the Entered 
Apprentice, the promise includes the secrets of a 
brother Mason, communicated as such, but not the 
transactions of the lodge, chapter or encampment. 
These are deemed binding only by virtue of the 
other promise of the candidate, that he will conform 
to the usages, customs and regulations of the frater- 
nity. But this distinction itself proves that, in 
Masonic contemplation, the obligation to keep secret 
the transactions of the lodge is not the obligation, 


with oath and penalty, to keep the essential secrets 
of the craft. For disclosing the transactions of the 
lodge, the penalty is expulsion. But the by-laws 
contain no such penalty for disclosing the secrets of 
the craft. What is this but a recognition that the 
penalty for divulging the secrets of the craft is 
different from the penalty for revealing the trans- 
actions of the lodge ? — that it is a crime of much 
higher order, sanctioned by the oath with its penalty, 
and for which it would be alike inconsistent and 
absurd to provide by a by-law or regulation of the 

My first objection to the promise of the Entered 
Apprentice's obligation is its indefiniteness — and 
this objection extends to all the obligations of the 
subsequent degrees, and to the institution itself, 
which is no where limited to any number of degrees, 
and is thereby rendered a ready engine of conspir- 
acy for any evil purpose. 

A second objection to the promise is its univer- 
sality. It is to keep the secrets of the craft, and 
never to reveal them to any person under the canopy 
of heaven. The single exception has no other 
effect than to exclude all other exceptions. It is 
confined to initiated brothers and regular lodges, to 
whom the Entered Apprentice can, of course, 
reveal nothing, they being already in possession of 
secrets which he promises to keep. The promise, 


therefore, is never to reveal the secrets of Masonry 
to any person under the canopy of heaven. 
I shall pursue this subject in another letter. 



Quincy, 10 September, 1832. 

D£AR Sir, — The second objection to the promise 
of the Entered Apprentice's obligation is its univer- 
sality. The candidate swears that he will never 
reveal any of the undefined ^^ arts, parts or points of 
the mysteries of Freemasonry, to any person under 
the canopy of heaven.^^ This promise, like the ad- 
ministration of the oath, is, in its terms, contrary to 
the law of the land. The laws of this, and of every 
civilized country, make it the duty of every citizen 
to testify the whole truth of facts, deemed by legis- 
lative bodies, or judicial tribunals, material to the 
issue of the investigation before them. It is also 
the duty of a good citizen to denounce and reveal 
to the authorities established to execute the laws 
against criminals, any secret crimes of which he has 
in any manner acquired the knowledge. Now, 
there is nothing in the artSj parts or points of the 
mysteries of Freemasonry^ which, in the trial of a 
judicial cause, or in an investigation of a legislative 


assembly, may not be justly deemed material to the 
issue before the court or the legislature. Of its ma- 
teriality, the judges, or the legislators, have the ex- 
clusive right to decide. No witness, called before 
a court of justice, or an authorized committee of a 
legislature, can refuse to answer any question put 
to him by the court or the committee, on the ground 
that he deems it immaterial to the trial before them. 
This principle becomes more glaringly obvious, when 
applied to the promise never to reveal the secrets of 
a brother Mason, communicated as such, contained 
in the Master Mason's oath. But the principle is 
identically the same. The Entered Apprentice 
promises never to reveal to any person under the 
canopy of heaven, that which the laws of his country 
may, the next day after he makes the promise, make 
it his duty to reveal to any court of justice before 
which he may be summoned to appear, or to any 
committee of the legislature of the State in which he 
resides, or of the Union. The promise is, therefore, 
unlawful, by its universality. 

You will remember that I am maintaining the 
position that the obligation, under oath and penalty, 
administered to and taken by the Entered Appren- 
tice is, in itself, essentially vicious. I now state 
the promise in the words universally admitted to be 
used in that ceremony. Do you deny that they 
contain an unlawful promise ."^ Yes, say you, be- 


cause the candidate is told, by the Master who 
administers the oath, that ^^ he is expressly to un- 
derstand that nothing therein contained is to inter- 
fere with his political or religious principles, with 
his duty to God, or the laws of his country." And 
you, and all honest and worthy masons, take and 
administer the oath with this understanding. Well, 
then, the promise is, in its terms, contrary to the law 
of the land, but you take and administer it with 
tacit reservation, furnished to you not by the action 
of your own understanding, but by the previous 
notification of the Master who administers the oath 
to you. So, and so only, you say, the terms of the 
promise are to be construed. But, in the first place, 
this is not a question of construction, but a question 
of mental reservation. The words are plain and 
unequivocal ; but you pronounce them with a reser- 
vation, that the promise shall bind you to nothing 
contrary to law. Now, what possible reason or 
justification can there be for exacting a promise, 
under oath, the real meaning of which is totally dif- 
ferent from that of the terms in which it is couched ? 
You swear a man to one thing, and you tell him it 
means another. But, secondly, how far does your 
exception extend ? You say the promise extends 
only to the essential secrets of Masonry, and to the 
lawful transactions in the lodges, and to the secrets 
of Masons, not criminal — the former of which you 


consider of not the least consequence to the world, 
but essential for the preservation of the society. 
The secrecy of transactions in the lodges you be- 
lieved to be merely conventional ; and the promise 
of keeping the secrets of a brother Mason are can- 
celled, when the secret confided to you by him is of 
a crime committed by himself. 

Now, all these exceptions resolve themselves into 
the tacit reservation, authorized by the declaration 
of the Master, before administering the oath, that it 
contains nothing contrary to law. If the oath is 
taken with that reservation, it applies equally to the 
promise to keep the essential secrets of the order, 
and to all the others. And, therefore, a Freemason, 
summoned before the committee of a legislature, or 
a court of justice, is bound not less to disclose the 
grips, signs, due guards and tokens, than he is to 
divulge the crimes of a brother Mason, known to 

The simple question I take to be this : I suppose 
a Freemason to be summoned before a legislative 
committee or assembly, or judicial tribunal, to tes- 
tify. Is he or is he not bound to answer any inter- 
rogatory put to him by their authority, and which 
they require of him to answer, respecting the essential 
secrets of the craft? If he is, bow can these secrets 
be kept, and of what avail are all the oaths admin- 
istered to Masonic candidates, whether with or with- 


out penalty ? If he is not, then the obligation of the 
Masonic oath supersedes the obligation of the law 
of the land. And if the Masonic oath of secrecy is 
paramount to the law of the land, with regard to the 
mysteries of the craft, where is the principle which 
restores the supremacy of the law, to require the 
disclosure of Masonic crimes ? The Masonic oath 
makes no discrimination between the secrets — the 
promise is to keep them all. The declaration of 
the Master, that there is nothing unlawful in the 
' oath, makes no discrimination — it applies to all, or 
it applies to none. 

With this view of the subject, you will perceive 
that I deem it altogether immaterial to the argu- 
ment, whether the words ^^ murder and treason not 
excepted" are or are not included in the Royal 
Arch Mason's promise of secrecy — whether he pro- 
mise to espouse the cause of a brother Mason, right 
or wrong, or not — and whether the words " and 
they left to my own election " are or are not an in- 
novation in the Master Mason's oath. But when 
you ask me, as an act of ^^ Justice, to believe that, 
should a brother Mason tell you, as a secret, that he 
had robbed a store, you would very speedily make 
the matter public in the police office," I must, while 
very cheerfully and sincerely believing you, observe, 
that it would be at the expense of the very explicit 
import of the Master Mason's oath. By that oath, 



the Master Mason promises to keep the secrets of 
a brother Master Mason, as secure and inviolable as 
if they were in his own breast, " murder and treason 
excepted." That is, excepting two specific enume- 
rated crimes. What, then, is the meaning of this 
exception ? — and why are they excepted ? The 
naming of them emphatically, leaves all other crimes 
included in the promise, and excluded from the ex- 
ception. The Master Mason's promise does, there- 
fore, by the plain import of its terms, pledge him to 
keep secret the knowledge of any crime committed ' 
by a brother Master Mason, and communicated to 
him as a Masonic secret, other than the two specified 
by name ; and if you should be in the unfortunate 
condition of having such a secret communicated to 
you, and should give notice of it at the police office, 
you would discharge your duty to your country, only 
by considering your Masonic promise as null and 
void. For here is the dilemma. If the Masonic 
promises are all made with the tacit reservation that 
nothing contrary to law is understood to be included 
in them, then the exception of murder and treason 
in the Master Mason's oath is not only superfluous, 
but deceptive ; since it limits to two specific crimes, 
the exception already referred to, of all crimes what- 
soever ; and if the Masonic promises are made with- 
out the reserved exception of all unlawful things, 
then the exception of murder and treason, from the 


secrets which the Master Mason pledges himself .to 
keep, leaves all other crimes as distinctly under the 
shelter of the promise, as if they had been included 
in it expressly by name. 

3. To tlie penalty — death by torture and mutila- 

I have, in a former letter, exposed the fallacy — I 
must say, the disingenuous fallacy — of the attempt 
to defend this part of the Masonic obligation in the 
late Rhode Island legislative investigation* In the 
tale of '^ January and May," when the doting, blind 
and abused husband, by the miraculous interposition 
of the king of the fairies, receives instantaneous res- 
toration of sight, to witness his own dishonor^ the 
queen of the fairies, with equal promptitude, sug- 
gests to the guilty wife an explanation. The 
Masonic brotherhood of Rhode Island are as ready to 
take a suggestion from the queen of fairies as the 
youthful and studious May. The committee of the 
Rhode Island legislature was composed of men too 
intelligent to be duped like the wittol January; yet 
were they contented to be told, and to believe, that 
the penalty of death ^br revealing a secret, was iden- 
tically one and the same thing as the heroic martyr- 
dom of death rather than to reveal a secret. All 
language is a system of logic* All language is a 
system of morals. All figurative language is trans- 
lation. The words may say one thing and intend 


another; but translation must not confound moral 
distinctions, and irony and dedications are the only 
figures of speech which are permitted in human in- 
tercourse to ** wash an Ethiop white." 

Your own exposition of this penalty is more can- 
did and more plausible. You consider the words in 
which the penalty is expressed, as unmeaning; be- 
cause the candidate has been told that the obligation 
contains nothing contrary to law ; and because the 
society neither possesses nor exercises the power to 
authorize the execution of the penalty. This, of 
course, considers the penalty as null and void. 

And so, one would think, it must be considered by 
every fair-minded and honorable man. And why, 
then, do fair-minded and honorable men adhere to 
this penalty ? Is it worthy of fair-minded and hon- 
orable men to use words full of sound and fury, sig- 
nifying nothing ? — to use them as the sanction of a 
promise ? — to use them with an appeal to the ever- 
lasting God ? Are the words so charming in them- 
selves, is the thought conveyed by them to the mind 
so irresistibly fascinating, that even now twelve 
hundred fair-minded and honorable men of Massa- 
chusetts declare, in the face of their country and of 
mankind, that they will not renounce the use of 
them ? O, say not what fair-minded and honorable 
men will or will not do ! Twelve hundred men of 
Massachusetts, men of fair and honorable minds, even 


now, after all the arts, parts and points of the mys- 
teries of Freemasonry have been revealed and pub- 
lished to the world, nay, after the very check-word, 
transmitted to them for their protection against the 
intrusion of book-Masons upon their mysteries, had 
been divulged with all the rest — after all this, twelve 
hundred Masons of Massachusetts have declared that 
they will not renounce or abandon the mysteries of 
Freemasonry ; — that they will still continue to hold 
their meetings, to tyle their lodges, to brandish their 
drawn swords for the exclusion of cowans and eaves- 
droppers, and to swear the knave or simpleton who 
will henceforth submit to take the oath, never to 
reveal, never to write, print, cut, carve, paint, stain 
or engrave, secrets known to every one who will 
take the trouble to read — secrets, in their own esti- 
mation, insignificant and puerile — secrets, in the 
estimation of great multitudes of their fellow-citizens, 
disgusting and blasphemous; — that they will continue 
to swear the candidate to this oath of secrecy, under 
no less a penalty than that of having his throat cut 
across from ear to ear, his tongue torn out by the 
roots, and his body buried in the rough sand of the 
sea, at low water mark, where the tide ebbs and 
flows twice in twenty-four hours. But that they 
will take care to explain to him, that this only means 
he will rather die than reveal to any person under 
the canopy of heaven these secrets known to all the 


world ; that his oath is not to interfere with his 
religion or politics, nor with any of his duties to his 
neighbor, his country, or his God. For thus speaks 
the mystic muse of Masonry : 

And many a holy text around she strews, 
To teach Masonic moralists to die. 

Have I proved that the Entered Apprentice's 
oath is a breach of law, human and divine ? — that its 
promise is undefined, unlawful and nugatory ? — that 
its penalty is barbarous, inhuman, murderous in its 
terms, and, in its least obnoxious sense, null and 
void ? If so, my task is done. The first step in 
Freemasonry is a false step. The Entered Appren- 
tice's obligation is a crime ; and, like all vicious 
usages, should be abolished. 



Quincy, 4 September, 1832. 

Dear Sir, — On the 19th ult. I wrote you a letter 
containing some observations upon the volume of 
letters upon Masonry and Antimasonry, which you 
have done me the honor of addressing to me. It 
was confidential, and intimated my intention to pur- 
sue the subject further hereafter. So far as it is 
connected with the presidential election now ap- 


proaching, I abstain from all interference with it. 
But the abolition of Freemasonry in this Union, is a 
cause which you have made your own, and which I 
trust you will not abandon. 

In the seventh letter of your volume, in confirma- 
tion of the statement that the Masonic obligations 
are administered in very different phraseology in 
different places, you refer me to enclosed copies of 
the obligations of the seven degrees as they were 
given twenty-five years since in the Lodge and 
Chapter of an Eastern city, you add among other 
things that these forms were introduced and adopt- 
ed at Rochester in the State of New York, when 
Royal Arch Masonry was introduced there. And 
you invite my attention to the difference between 
the Royal Arch obligation as contained in this man- 
uscript and that in Bernard's book. 

There is in the volume a reference to the Note B. 
in the Appendix. But there I find only an apology 
for the omission of this manuscript because it would 
have swollen the volume to a size beyond your 

If it would not give you too much trouble I should 
be obliged to you for a communication to me of this 
manuscript, which you can forward by the mail and 
which will be returned to you as you may direct. 
I am, very respectfully, Dear Sir, 

Your friend and servant, 





Washington, 1 Februuy, 1832. 

Dear Sir, — My Antimasonry has cooled down a 
little while objects less important but more urgent 
absorb my time and attention ; but it has not been 
extinguished by the mental reservations of the 
twelve hundred certifiers to their own integrity, 
which I never thought of impeaching, nor has it been 
remarkably edified by the ostensible investigation of 
the Committee of the Rhode Island Legislature, or 
its results, i share in no spirit of Antimasonic pro^ 
scripiioriy if such there beK but if I had any right of 
person or property pending in a Court of Justice 
with an Entered Apprentice or a Knight Templar 
for my adversary, I should much disincline to see any 
man sworn upon my jury, who had been present at 
the murder and resuscitation of Hiram Abifi", and still 
more to any one who should have crawled upon all 
fours under the living Arch. In other words, I do 
hold as disqualified for an impartial juror, at least 
between a Mason and an Antimason, any man who 
has taken the Masonic oaths and adheres to them, 
not excepting the twelve hundred certifiers them- 
selves.. With regard to church fellowship I am not 


prepared to speak so particularly. I am in church 

communion with several of the twelve hundred, and 

have perfect confidence in their integrity. But I ; 

would challenge them as jurors, between me and the I 

Master Mason who made oath that he had been . 
twice present with me at a Lodge in Pittsfield ; or 
between me and the Master Mason who had the 
impudence to vouch in my father as a patron of y 

I have said that I share in no Antimasonic pro- 
scriptions, if such there be ; and I repeat the assur- 
ance, that so far from approving or countenancing 
their nomination of any candidate in opposition to 
you, I did unequivocally disapprove of that measure 
and as far as I could dissuade them from it. I am 
happy to give you this assurance, nor will I press 
further for the name of him who attempted to induce 
in your mind a different belief. I have no doubt he 
was acting under Masonic law as faithfully as the 
brethren of the Royal Arch, who Morganized the 
bottom of Niagara River. — Agnosco fratrem. 




H / 



Quincy, 18 Angust, 1832. 

y^ With respect to conciliating the Antimasons in 
\ this Commonwealth, though it is rather late for the 
National Republicans to begin, it may be better 
late than never. I most sincerely and heartily wish 
that they would. The National -_Re£ublicans of 
this Commonwealth have not understood^-Jhey^ do 
not and I fear wiU not understand, the state of the 
Antimasonic question. About a year ago the Grand 
Lodge of Rhode Island published a formal defence 
of Masonry, in which they said they could not tell 
whether Morgan had been murdered or not, for they 
knew nothing about it. I have read a declaration 
published on the last day of the last year, signed by 
twelve hundred Masons of this our own State, who 
speak of a high excitement, which had been in the 
public mind, carried to it ^^ by the partial and tn- 
fiammatory representations of certain offences com- 
mitted by a few misguided members of the Masonic 
Institution in a sister State." The National Repub- 
licans of Massachusetts know nothing about these 
certain offences ; but they have for two years past 
taken most especial care to turn out of office every 
Antimason upon whom they could lay their hands, 


all the while bitterly complaining of the persecuting 
and prescriptive spirit of political Antimasonry. J) 

The c jiuse of Antimasonry must and will survive 
the next Presidential election. And if the Nation- 
atHepublicans of Massachusetts really wish for the 
co-operation of Antimasons, I have no doubt they 
C£^ obtain it. Whether they can agree upon a 
ticket for the Presidential election now so near at 
hand, is doubtful in my mind, but I take it for 
granted that for this time the National Republicans 
can carry their , elections without them. The Ma- 
sonic declaration of last winter, to which I have 
alluded, considers the Antimasonic excitement as 
having subsided, and they certainly did appear to 
have lost ground in this State, and at least to have 
gained none in the States of New York and Penn- 
sylvania. .There is now an apparent union of the 
two parties in New York, but whether it will be 
cordial or successful is very problematical. The"^ 
National Republicans there are more sanguine than / 
the Antimasons, and there are wounds between 
them not easily to be healed. You know how it is^ 

Upon the subject of Antimasonry I have not I 
suffered myself to be excited, although there has j 
been no lack of provocations. But I do know 
something about the Masonic murder of Morgan, 
and the clusters of crimes perpetrated for the 



suppression of bis book. I know sometbing also 
of the laws, oaths, obligations and penalties of 
Masonry, and I have not been unobservant of their 
practical effect, from murder under the sealed obli- 
gation, down to the prevarication of pretending that 
to have the throat cut from ear to ear means expul- 
sion from the Lodge. If the Masonic controversy 
were now raging in Cochin-China, and the name of 
Hiram Abiff had never been heard upon this con- 
tinent, the subject would be worthy of investigation, 
as a philosophical inquiry into the mysteries of 
human nature. I have endeavored to consider it as 
a question upon the first principles of morals. (j[ 
have sought for the facts from the Masonic as well 
as from the Antimasonic side, and have read Henry 
Brown, as well as Avery Allyn and David Bernard. 
' Col. Stone's letters, which you have doultfless seen, 
were addressed to me, in consequence of inquiries 
which I had addressed to a brother Mason of his in 
Philadelphia, which were communicated to him. 
Stone is a Kaight Templar, and as^you know, a 
very ardent National Republican. yHis Masonic 
spirit lingers with him through his whole book, but 
he is an honest man; unperverted, even by the 
fifth libation ; and a bold one, or he never would 
have dared to proclaim the truths contained in those 
Letters. I ask your particular attention to the 
Letters from twenty-one to twenty-five inclusive, 


and to the forty-eighth, and I wish you would 
recommend the perusal of them to those of your 
National Republican friends, who are accessible to 
reason upon this subject. ^I abstain purposely Jrom 
any public manifestation of opinion upon this topic, 
to avoid all appearance of ; iiile r fering^ - with the 
approaching Presidential election. 

Faithfully your friend, 



Quincy, QO August, 1832. 

My Dear Sir, — Since my letter of the third 
instant, I have not had the pleasure of hearing from 
you. /in the interval I have been solicited with 
some urgency, on one hand by the National Re- 
publicans, and on the other hand by the Anti- 
masons of this Commonwealth, to repair to theirv 
respective standards, which are not here the same, j 
There is yet some obscurity with regard to the 
result of the compromise, said to have taken place 
in New York and Pennsylvania ; and there is. no 
prospect of an agreement between them here. 

Of this I have had the opportunity to satisfy my- 
self, and it has confirmed my conviction of the pro- 
priety of my abstaining from interference with the 


elections. I have therefore declined attending as a 
delegate at the Antimasonic State Convention, to 
be held at Worcester on the 6th of next month, to 
make nominations for the offices of Governor and 
Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth, and of 
an Electoral ticket for the choice of President and 
Vice President of the United States. 

But while refraining from all agency in the ap- 
proaching elections, I am, as a true and faithful Anti- 
Mason, in search of light. Now there are three 
modes of lighting a lamp, with which I am almost 
equally familiar. One at noon-day, with a burning- 
glass, by the radiance of the sun. One in times of 
clouds and darkness, with flint, steel, tinder and a 
match ; and one either by night or day, in sunshine 
or in shade, kindled at the light of another lamp. 
In the adalogy between the worlds of matter and of 
mind, electioneering seems to me to light the lamp 
by the collision of flint and steel. But I, reserving 
that process for use when the others fail, or cannot 
be applied, content myself for the present with 
lighting my lamp by the flame of another, or by the 
concentrated illumination from the source of light. 

I have, therefore, since my return home, read 
with close and critical attention the volume of Let- 
ters addressed to me by Col. Stone. This book 
was, if not composed, at least addressed to me in 
consequence of those letters, which about this time 


last year I wrote Edward Ingersoll, and which he 
then communicated to Mr. Stone. They contained 
a specification of nine crimes, atrocious as any that 
can be committed by man, with inquiries whether 
they had not been committed in the transactions 
connected with the murder of Morgan, and whether 
the organized institution of Freemasonry, its cor- 
porate bodies of Lodges, Chapters and Encamp- 
ments, were not accessory to all these crimes before 
or after the fact. 

Mr. Stone's book is the answer to these inquiries. 
He is, against the Institution, the best of witnesses. 
He has taken ten degrees of Masonry ; and is in 
Masonic language, a worthy Sir Knight Templar. 
He has never renounced nor ever formally seceded 
from the Institution. Long after the murder of 
Morgan he believed that no Masonic Lodge had in 
any manner polluted itself with the guilt of his blood. 
But as the editor of a respectable journal, he did 
not sxi^ev his Masonic obligations to control his 
moral duties. He disdained to justify, to connive 
at, or to suppress, the commission of crimes. His 
journal did give to the public, statements of the facts* 
as they became authenticated, and this soon brought 
him into collision with numbers of adhering Masons, 
and with the Grand Lodge of the State of New 
York. Then after a sharp altercation and bitter 
reproaches for his admission into the columns of his 


newspaper of Truth against Masonic murder ; and 
after an ineffectual struggle to save the Grand Lodge 
from the turpitude of an appropriation of money for 
the benefit of the Western sufferers, he withdrew ; 
and says he has never set his foot in a lodge-room 
from that day. 

; Col. Stone, I have said, is the best of witnesses 
/ against Masonry, for he is an upright, intelligent, 
\ and most unwillins[ witness. He testifies under the 
shackles of all his Masonic obligations, and with the 
knowledge that he is incurring the vindictive and 
unforgiving resentment of the Craft. This is the 
destiny of every non-adhering Mason, and it places 
him in a position of no trifling or inconsiderable 
peril. His testimony confirms, far beyond any an- 
ticipation that I had formed, the extent to which the 
lodges, chapters and encampments of the State of 
New York are implicated in the Morgan-murder 
crimes. It demonstrates beyond all possibility of 
reply, not only that the nine crimes specified^in my 
letters to Edward IngersoU, have been committed, 
but that lodges, chapters and encampments have 
• been accessory to every one of them, before or after 
the fact. It proves also that the crimes committed 
were more numerous than my specifications, and 
that several others should be added to the list. 
As you have Stone's book, I refer you to the letters 
from twenty-one to twenty-five inclusive, and to 


letter forty-eight, and will ask at your leisure for 
your thoughts on the facts there disclosed. 

With a view to the ultimate object of Anti- 
masonry, the abolition of Freemasonry in these 
United States^ it appears to me to be an important 
point gained, if we produce on the public mind a 
full conviction that those crimes have been com- 
mitted, and that Masonry is responsible for them. 

The honest adhering Masons turn away their 
eyes from the facts, and urge the people to do the 
same. The reason of this is that they cannot look 
at the facts, and defend the institution ; but they 
give thereby an immense advantage in the contro- 
versy to their adversaries. For as argument must 
be founded upon facts, he who has most perfect 
possession of facts, must have the firmest foundation 
for argument. 

But after establishing the facts, first of the crimes 
committed, and secondly of the participation of 
many organized Masonic bodies in them, there is 
another point of view, to which it seems to me 
advisable to call the attention of the public to 
induce them to look at the institution a priori^ to 
examine and analyze it, as it is in its nature. In a 
conversation with Col. Stone, after he had proposed 
to address the letters to me, but before he had 
begun the work, he was pleading, as be does in his 
book, for the institution as he had known and 



shared in it, and denied that be had ever taken the 
oath with the words " murder and treason not ex- 
cepted.^^ I said to him that the first step of Mason- 
ry was a stumbling block to me. That the Entered 
Apprentice's oath was vicious, and infected the 
whole Institution. He has stated this observation 
of mine in his book, in terms I think rather stronger 
than those that I used. I have therefore written 
him two letters, with a full development of the sen- 
timent which I did express to him, and of the 
reasons upon which it is founded. I have not writ- 
ten them for the purpose of present publication ; 
and I enclose them to you, before transmitting 
them to him, and will be grateful to you for any 
remarks that may occur to you upon the perusal of 
them ; after which I will ask you to return them to 
me. You will perceive that a concentration of 
legal, religious and moral objection against the very 
first act of initiation to Masonry, is in truth laying 
the corner stone to the edifice of Antimasonry. 
This part of the system seems to me not to have 
been sufficiently canvassed. The adhering and 
seceding Masons have been disputing about sin- 
gle items in the Master Mason's, Royal Arch, and 
Templar's obligations, which are differently admin- 
istered in different Lodges, Chapters and Encamp* 
ments ; while the vital questbn seems to me to be 
in the Entered Apprentice's oath, obligation and 


penalty. The chemist who detects arsenic in a 
cup of coffee, may inquire, for curiosity, whether it 
was mingled up with the powder of the berry, or 
poured into the boiling kettle ; a motive of more 
intense interest to those who repair with the pitcher 
to the fountain, should be, to examine whether the 
poison has not been deposited there. 

You will estimate the confidence which I repose 
in your candor as well as in your judgment, when I 
add, that in submitting the enclosed letters to your 
examination, I have not forgotten that you, like 
Washington and Warren, had once taken the 
Entered Apprentice's oath yourself. 

Acccept the assurance of 

my respect and affection, 


Washin^n, 28 November, 1832. 

Sir, — ^Your letter of the 22d instant, enclosing 
your address before the Antimasonic convention, 
holden at Providence on the 2d instant, proposes a 
question of considerable difficulty — namely, by what- 
means the institution of Freemasonry, with all its 
exceptionable properties, may be put down- 

I answer, by the voluntary dissolution of the so- ^^^ 


ciety, or by its extinction by the forbearance of 
others to contract its obligations. 

I have hoped that the virtuous and intelligent 
members of the order, upon finding that all their 
secrets have been revealed and made public ; upon 
perceiving the numerous atrocious crimes connected 
with the murder of Morgan, and to which their 
oaths, obligations and penalties have given rise ; and 
upon discovering the general obloquy into which the 
institution was gradually sinking, would frankly 
have abandoned it, of their own accord. Thb ex- 
pectation has not been fully realized. But great 
numbers of Masons have ceased to frequent the 
lodges — numbers of lodges and chapters have suf- 
fered their charters to expire ; and I believe the 
instances are now few in which they swear a man 
upon the penalty of having his throat cut from ear 
to ear, to keep secret from every human being, what 
every human being who will read the books of David 
Bernard and Avery Allyn, knows as well as the 
brightest Masons of the land — still, the majority of 
Masons do adhere to the craft, and refuse to give 
up their idol. The only way to deal with them is, 
to bring to bear upon them public opinion; an^that 
mode of treatment has been pursued with regard to 
the disease, with considerable and encouraging 

I concur with you in the opinion that the admin- 


istration of Masonic oaths, obligations and penalties 
ought to be prohibited by statutes of the State legis- 
latures, with penalues annexed to them, not of cut^ 
ting throats from ear to ear, nor of cutting the body 
in two by the middle, nor of opening the left breast 
and tearing out the heart and vitals, nor of smiting 
off the skull to serve as a cup for the fifth libation ; 
but with good, wholesome penalties of fine and im- 
prisonment, adequate to their purpose of deterring 
every Master, Grand Master, Grand King, or other 
dignitary of the sublime and ineffable degrees, from 
ever more polluting his lips with the execrable for- 
mularies, which have at length been dragged into 
light. Most cordially would I, were I a member of 
any State legislature in the Union, give my voice 
and vote for the enactment of such monitory statutes. ^ 
But this cannot be effected, so long as Masonry con- 
trols the majorities in the State legislatures ; that is, 
so long as the people continue to elect, as members 
of the State legislatures, adhering Freemasons — or 
men who are neither Masons nor Antimasons ;^r9 
what you call moral Antimasons ; men who disap- 
prove Masonry, but are afraid of incurring Masonic 
vengeance, by raising a finger or uttering a word 
against It — men whose virtue consists in neutrality 
between right and wrong ; and who are willing to 
believe that to refuse their votes to a man, because 
he is an adhering Freemason, is persecution. So 


long as the people continue to constitute majorities 
of their State legislatures of such men as these, so 
long will it be idle to expect any statutory enactment 
against Masonic oaths, obligations and penalties. 

It is, therefore, the duty of pure and disinterested 
Antimasonry to operate, as well as it canTupon pub- 
lic opinion ; and one of the most effective modes of 
thus operating is the ballot box. It is just and pro- 
per, that every individual, honestly believing that 
the Masonic institution is an enormous nuisance in 
the community, which, if not voluntarily relinquished, 
ought to be broken down by the arm of the law, 
should resolve that he will vote for individuals, as 
members of the State legislatures, entertaining, upon 
this subject, the same opinions as himself, and for 
none other. If this resolution be just and proper for 
each individual separately, it is equally so for as 
many individuals collectively as can agree upon the 
principle. / Far from being obnoxious to the charge 
of persecution, it is, perhaps, the mildest of all pos- 
sible forms of operating upon public opinion — by 
public opinion itself It is thus that the Antimasons 
J have acted ; first in the State of New York, where 
the Morgan-murder has fastened upon the hand of 
Masonry a spot of blood, like that which the dream 
of Macbeth's wife paints upon hers, and which all 
the perfumes of Arabia can never sweeten ; and 
subsequently in other States, including that of Rhode 


Island. Thus far, the principle of political Anti- 
masonry has ray hearty approbation; and in the 
diversity of opinion which still unhappily prevails 
on this question, it is a satisfaction to me that the 
dictate of my judgment coincides with that of a 
large majority of the inhabitants of my native town, 
my friends and neighbors, and of a highly respectable 
portion, if not a majority, of the constituents whom 
I have the honor of representing in the Congress of 
the United States. 

With regard to the political course of the Anti- 
masons in Rhode Island, I am not a competent 
judge. To the cause of Antimasonry, I consider the 
legislative investigation of the last winter as having 
essentially contributed. It has substantially settled 
the question what the oaths^ obligations and penalties 
of Freemasonry are. It has cut short all quibbling 
equivocation, and attempts to blast the credit of 
Avery Allyn and David Bernard. It has given us 
those oaths, obligations and penalties in their naked 
deformity. It has dragged the struggling savage 
into day, and has shown us the last writhings of his 
Protean form, in the impudent pretension that the 
death of a traitor, in Masonic language, means the 
death of a martyr. To the conclusions of the ma- 
jority of the committee of investigation — namely, 
that it is the indispensable duty of the Masons to 
dissolve their fraternity, I respond, Amen and amen ; 


though, when I read their report, and observe the 
process by which they reach them, I cannot forbear 
an exclamation of astonishment at the novel process 
of induction, by which their conclusion slaps the 
face of all their premises. 

I hope and trust that the Freemasons of Rhode 
Island will ultimately follow the advice of the com- 
mittee of investigation, which so magnanimously 
waived the legislative right of exacting testimony 
to their secrets, and thus suffered the law of the 
land to cower before the law of Masonic secrecy. 
I thank the committee for having peremptorily 
exacted the real oaths, obligations and penalties, as 
taken and administered in Rhode Island, and con- 
sider the result as having settled, in the mind of 
every reasonable and independent man, their nature 
and their character. 

Respectfully, Sir,* 

Your servant and fellow-citizen, 



Washington, 23 December, 1833. 

Sir, — Mr. Banks, the worthy representative of 
your district, delivered to me your friendly letter of 
the 26th of last month. I have, since the com- 


mencement of the session of Congress, regularly 
received the numbers of the Mercer Luminary, and 
have observed with pleasure the zeal and assiduity 
vi^ith which it disseminates the light of Antima- 
sonry. To that cause I am devoted, because I 
believe it to be the cause of pure morals and of 
truth. Until the murder of Morgan, I had very"^ 
little knowledge of the institution of Freemasonry, 
except as an occasional witness of its childish 
pageantry, and the mock solemnity of its proces- 
sions. These I believed to be harmless, and I gave ^ 
willing credit to their boastful professions of benev- 
olence and charity. Very soon after the Morgan 
catastrophe, however, the Masonic obligations were 
disclosed to me in the escape of Col. William King, 
from the pursuit of justice, in the territory of 
Arkansas. I saw their operation, without being 
able to punish the offender or even judicially to 
authenticate the offence. King escaped by the 
connivance of Masonic obligations paramount to the 
laws of the land. He re-appeared afterwards upon 
the theatre of his guilt ; and as you know, died 
suddenly, on the disclosing of facts which he had 
flattered himself were hidden from every person 
under the canopy of heaven, without the pale of 
Masonic oaths and penalties. Other evidences of 
the practical effect of Masonic obligations soon 
revealed themselves to me in the forms of secret 



slander and perjury. But of the multitude of 
atrocious crimes committed first in the conspiracy 
which terminated in the murder of Morgan, and for 
five years afterwards in baffling and defeating the 
laws of the State in their efforts to bring tha mur* 
derers to justice, I had a very imperfect idea till the 
publication of Col. Stone's book. 

There remained yet, not any reasonable doubt, 
but some deficiency of evidence, with regard to the 
essential, inherent, and indelible viciousness of the 
Masonic obligations, in the solemn protestations of 
the adhering Masons, that those obligations were 
falsely represented in the books of Bernard and 
Avery Allyn ; in the bold asseverations that no 
such oaths, obligations and penalties existed ; and in 
reiterated declarations, couched in delusive general- 
ities, that they had never taken any oath or obliga- 
tion inconsistent with their duties to their country 
or their religion ; but always without disclosing 
what were the terms of those which they had taken. 
The investigation by a committee of the Legisla- 
ture of Rhode Island, finally brought out the obligar 
tions of ten degrees, as avowed to be practiced in 
the Lodges, Chapters and Encampments of that 
State. It exposed them in their hideous deformity; 
and took from the defenders of Masonry their last 
refuge of prevarication 

It was to show them in their naked nature, 


divested of all sophisticated explanations, and all 
mental equivocations, that I wrote the four letters 
on the Entered Apprentice's Oath, which you have 
republished in the Luminary. I am happy that 
they have met your approbation. 

I am, with much respect, 

Your friend and fellow-citizen, 



Washington, 10 April, 183a 

Sir, — In the National Intelligencer of the 22d of 
April, 1830, there appears an address, there said to 
have been delivered by you, to the General Royal 
Arch Chapter of the United States, upon your in- 
stallation to the high Masonic ofiicial dignity of 
their General Grand High Priest. 

In that address, after a feeling and elegant 
acknowledgment of the grateful emotions which you 
experienced on being apprized of the unexpected 
and unsolicited distinction which had been conferred 
upon you ,by your election to that office, and a pa- 
thetic allusion to that period of life when all worldly 
honors fade into the " sear and yellow leaf," you 
assign as your reason for accepting the dignity and 
the charge of presiding over an association in whose 


labors you had " for many years retired from any 
participation," that your refusal might have been 
" ascribed to an unmanly fear of encountering the 
clamor raised against our instituiioTij [of Free- 
masonry,] or to a consciousness, that the vile and 
absurd accusations against it were well founded. 
Either of these suspicious (you added) would have 
injured not my character only, but that of the 
whole fraternity." 

You further assigned an additional motive for 
overcoming the reluctance suggested by the con- 
sciousness that your long retirement had rendered 
you less fit to fill the station than many others, 
equally well qualified in other respects; and this 
motive was your confidence in the Masonic skill 
and excellent character of the worthy companion 
who was, at the same solemnity, installed with you 
as your Deputy General Grand High Priest. 

After these ceremonial preliminaries, you proceed 
as follows : ^^ Companions and Brethren ! For the 
first time in the history of our country, persecution 
has raised itself against our honorable fraternity. 
It does not, indeed, as in other countries, incarce- 
rate our bodies, strain them on the whciel, or con- 
sume them in the flames of the Inquisition ; but its 
attacks are, to an honorable mind, as unjustifiable. 
It assails our reputation with the blackest calum- 
nies; strives, by the most absurd inventions, to 


deprive us of the confidence of our fellow-citizens ; 
belies the principles of our order, and represents us 
as bound to each other bj obligations subversive 
of civil order, and hostile to religion." 

Mr. Livingston, — In moulding this personified 
image of persecution, did it never occur to you that 
the foul and midnight hag, who justly bears that 
name, is never to herself more deliciously occupied 
than in charging persecution upon others? In those 
Holy Scriptures, which it is your official duty to 
read and expound to your companions and brethren 
of the Royal Arch, it is related, that when your 
predecessor in the high priesthood, Ananias, com- 
manded that Paul should be smitten on the mouth, 
the apostle of the gentiles turned upon him and 
said, '' God shall smite thee, thou whited wall ; for 
sittest thou to judge me after the law, and com- 
mandest me to be smitten, contrary to the law ? " 
I will not imitate this exclamation of Paul, for which 
he himself apologized, when informed that it was 
the high priest to whom he spoke — but I will ask 
you, sir, to reconsider this charge of persecution, 
imputed by you, in the face of the world, not indeed 
to any individual by name, but to a numerous and 
respectable class of your fellow-citizens in nine or 
ten States of the Union — to all that class of citizens 
known in the community by the denomination of 
Antimasons. I am one of them myself. As respects 


myself I know, as regards the whole party I firmly 
believe, that in the above passage of your address, 
you did them great injustice. In charging them 
with calumny, you calumniated them yourself. In 
accusing them of persecution, you are yourself the 

I will not say that on your part this persecution 
and calumny were wilful. You had for many years 
retired from any participation in the labors of the 
craft. If this fact is not very pregnant of evidence, 
that, in your estimation, the labors of the craft were, 
when you participated in them, of a high order of 
public usefulness or private beneficence, it excul- 
pates you at least from all participation in labors of 
evil. You did not know what new labors had, most 
especially in your own native State of New York, 
and extensively elsewhere, been engrafted upon the 
old stock. You did not know the additions which 
had been, in many lodges and chapters, made to the 
whole graduation of your oaths. The tree had not 
borne all its fruits. The Morgan tragedy had been 
enacted, and more than three years of impunity had, 
in evasion or defiance of the laws of nature, of jus- 
tice, and of the land, sheltered the guilt of its per- 
petrators; but you did not know, nor was there 
mortal out of the pale of your penalties who did 
know, the catalogue of Masonic crimes which bad 
been committed in affiliated connection with that 


Masonic murder — you know them not to this day. 
Multitudes of them are, and will ever remain, se- 
creted under the seal of the fifth libation, and under 
the obligation to conceal from every person under 
the canopy of heaven, the secrets of a wortht 
brother — murder and treason not excepted, or ex- 
cepted at the option of the swearer. More than a 
year after your address was delivered, the Grand 
Lodge of Rhode Island published a defence of 
Masonry against those same charges, which they, 
like you, pronounced persecutions and calumnies. 
Yet, even then, they said that whether Morgan had 
been murdered or not, they could not tell— -^/br they 
knew nothing about it. They knew nothing about 
it! — They knew nothing about the facts, proved 
in the judicial tribunals of New York, not only by 
clouds of witnesses, but by the confessions and pleas 
of guilty of several among the conspirators them- 
selves. The Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, one 
and all, knew nothing about all this, and yet they 
published a defence of Masobry, and pronounced 
persecution and calumny, the denunciations of vir- 
tuous indignation against those very judicially 
authenticated facts, about which they declared that 
they knew nothing. 

Sir, your address to your Royal Arch Companions 
had more of candor or more of discretion. You 
advised them that calumnies so absurd as those 


uttered against you (the Masons) were best met by 
dignified silence ! And yet you did not meet them 
by dignified silence ; you pronounced them from 
your exalted seat of General Grand High Priest of 
the order, black and absurd calumnies, and you 
attributed them all to persecution. 

But if I am bound to acknowledge the candor 
and discretion of your advice to your brethren to 
meet the charges against their Institution with 
dignified silence, I cannot offer an equal tribute of ' 
commendation to your consistency, when after all 
your bitter complaints of calumny and persecution, 
you urge them to " be just, and reflect how much 
cause for excitement has been given, by the out- 
rageous abduction of a citizen dragged from his 
family and friends, in the midst of a populous State, 
followed up, most probably, by the perpetration of a 
most atrocious murder." 

You then remind them that 

'^ It was natural, from all the circumstances of 
this most extraordinary and savage act, to believe 
that it was committed by Masons." 

Sir, was it not committed by Masons ? 

<Mt was in human nature, unenlightened and 
prejudiced human nature, to impute the cause of 
the ofience to some secret tenet of the fraternity, 
and to involve them in the criminality of their guilty 


Why the words unenlightened and prejudiced? 
Was not some secret tenet of the fraternity the 
cause of the offence ? That tenet of the fraternity, 
secret at the time of the murder of Morgan, is 
secret now no longer. For the mere intention to 
reveal it, Morgan paid the penalty of his Entered 
Apprentice's oath — his book revealed it after his 
death. Its revelation was authenticated on the 4th 
of July, 1828, by the testimony, not of unenlight- 
ened and prejudiced human nature, but of the Le 
Roy Convention of seceding Masons — men who 
themselves had taken these oaths, and declared 
themselves subject to the penalties which had been 
inflicted by Masonic hands upon Morgan. 

^^ It was natural that ambitious men should keep 
up the excitement, and direct it against political 
adversaries for their own elevation." 

Perhaps it was. You, Mr. Livingston, are versed 
in the ways of ambition and of ambitious men. 
You know their propensity to keep up excitements, 
and to direct them against political adversaries for 
their own elevation. You must know, you cannot 
but know, that Masonry has been used by ambi- 
tious men for the same purposes. You must know 
that in many of the New York lodges, the promise 
to promote a brother's political advancement, was 
one of the recent additions to the Masonic obliga- 
tions. You may, and ought to know, that wherever 



the spirit of Antimasonrj has arisen, one of the first 
discoveries made by it has been, that wherever a 
lodge or chapter has existed, at least three-fourths 
of all the elective offices in the place were held bj 
worthy brethren and companions of the craft, 
chosen by men, multitudes of whom knew not 
themselves the influence under which their votes 
were cast. You know, too, that the charge of 
ambitious and selfish motives is one of the most 
vulgar, and most hacknied imputations of all ambi- 
tious rivals and competitors against one another. 
In condescending to use it yourself against the 
An ti masons, you certainly gave no additional dignity 
to it ; — and as a defence of the Institution against 
Antimasonry, you might with advantage to yourself 
have remembered your advice to your brethren, and 
preferred to such a shield, the armor of dignified 
silence. * 

^^ And it was quite natural that men should be 
found simple enough not to see through their views, 
credulous enough to believe their absurd tales, or 
sufficiently unprincipled to propagate them, know- 
ing them to be false." 

This again may be true. Of simple, of cred- 
ulous, and of unprincipled men, there are always 
numbers in every community, and they are the nat- 
ural instruments of politicians of mdre ambition 
than principle. But, in this respect, as in many 


others, Antimasonrj is and has been more sinned 
against than sinning. Simple and credulous men 
have, for example, been told by the Genera] Grand 
High Priest of the General Royal Arch Chapter of 
the United States, that the charges against the 
Masonic institution, of having had some secret tenet, 
which was the cause of the murder of Morgan, 
were black and absurd calumnies, invented by per- 
secution, and which none but fools and cullies could 
believe, and none but knaves would propagate. 
Simple and credulous men may believe these asser- 
tions of the General Grand High Priest, because 
they are made by him, and because his character 
gives them the weight of authority. To simple 
and credulous men, the highest of all evidence is 
the authority of great names, and accordingly your 
own most plausible answer to the Antimasonic 
charges against your institution, is an appeal to the 
great and good men who have belonged and still 
belong to it 

But, sir, this is not sound reasoning to influence 
the minds of other than simple and credulous men. 
The question, permit me to say, upon the issue 
which I am about to take with you, is not who — 
but WHAT — not who have bound themselves by the 
Masonic oaths, obligations, and penalties ; but ivhat 
these oaths, obligations and penalties are. fVhai is 
their nature ? and what have been their fruits ? 


Now, sir, I do aver, that "the cause of the 
offence" — that is, of the murder of William Mor- 
gan, and of a multitude of other crimes indissolublj 
connected with it, was a secret tenet of the frater- 
nity — secret then, but no longer secret now. It 
consisted in the obligation and penalty of the 
Entered Apprentice's oath. It was the secret tenet 
of initiation to the Masonic institution. 

This, sir, is the issu€ which I, an Antiroason, 
tender to you, the General Grand High Priest of 
the General Royal Arch Chapter of the United 
States. I call upon you, sir, in that capacity, to 
sustain the charge of persecution and calumny, 
made by you in your address to your brethren and 
companions, upon your installation, against the 
whole body of Antimasons in the United States, 
and to sustain the institution over which you pre- 
side, against the charges which you pronounce per- 
secuting and calumnious. 

But this, sir, is not my whole, or my ultimate 
purpose. I do conscientiously and sincerely believe, 
that the order of Freemasonry, if not the greatest, 
is one of the greatest moral and political evils, 
under which this Union is now laboring. I further 
believe that the primary and efficient cause of all 
this evil, is that same rite of initiation ; for as all 
the oaths, obligations and penalties of the subse- 
quent degrees are but variations, expansions and 


aggravations of that primitive vice, let that be once 
abolished, and all the rest must fall with it ; knock 
away the underpinning, and the whole scaffolding 
must come to the ground. 

With this address, I have the honor of submitting 
to you a pamphlet containing four letters on the 
Entered Apprenticed oath. You will perceive, sir, 
that they arraign that act of initiation upon five 
distinct charges — as contrary to the laws of religion, 
to the laws of morality, to the laws of the land. 

Those letters have been now more than six months 
published. Their existence has not been noticed 
by any of the newspapers of the country under 
Masonic influence ; but they have been very exten- 
sively circulated in pamphlets, and numerous edi- 
tions of them have been issued in several of the 
States of the Union. They have of course attract- 
ed much of that benevolence and charity, in the 
construction of motives, for which the Masonic 
order is so conspicuous, upon the head of their 
author; — but no attempt has to my knowledge been 
made to answer them. They were first published 
in the Commercial Advertiser of New York, and 
addressed to its editor, Col. William L. Stone, 
known to you as a distinguished companion of your 
order, in the degree of a Knight Templar. 

I have expected that some show of defence 
against the charges in those letters would have been 


made. The charges are grave — they are specific — 
they are made under the responsibility of my name. 
And now, sir, as no individual brother or companion 
of the craft has been willing to undertake its 
defence, I call upon you, as the General Grand 
High Priest of the order in these United States, to 
undertake it. I call upon you the more freely, 
because, if the charges are true, there is a debt of 
justice and of reparation due from you to all the 
Antimasons of the United States. The charges 
are in part the same with those which you have 
pronounced absurd, calumnious, and persecuting. 
If, upon examination, you find them true, I expect 
from your candor an acknowledgment of your 
error ; from your magnanimity, a retractation of 
your charges against the Antimasons. 

I expect more. If, upon a fair examination of 
these charges against the Entered Apprentice's Oathj 
Obligation and Penalty^ you should find yourself 
unable to defend them before the tribunal of public 
opinion — if you should, by the natural rectitude and 
intelligence of your enlightened and unprejudiced 
mind, come to the conclusion that the first initiatory 
rite of Freemasonry is in its own nature vicious, 
immoral, and unlawful — that no mental reservation 
can excuse it — that no explanation can change its 
nature — that no plea of nullity can purify the attain- 
der of its bloody purport — then, sir, I expect that. 


as the General Grand High Priest of the order, you 
will immediately advise its abolition, or at least 
recommend that it should never more be adminis- 
tered. I ask not merely of the Grand High Priest 
of Masonry, but of the profound and eloquent and 
humane legislator of the criminal code for Louisiana ; 
I ask of him the abolition forever of that brutal pen- 
alty of death by torture and mutilation, for the dis- 
closure of senseless secrets — or rather, now, of 
secrets proclaimed from every housetop of the land. 
I say to you, in the language of the Roman orator, 
in the sentiment of a heart congenial with your own, 
*^ Hanc domesticam crudelitatem toUite ex civitate ; 
banc pati nolite diutius in hac republica versari; 
quae non modo id habet in se mali, quod civem 
atrocissime sustulit, verum etiam hominibus lenissi- 
mis ademit misericordiam. Nam cum omnibus horis 
aliquid atrociter fieri videmus, aut audimus ; etiam 
qui natura mitissimi sumus, assiduitate molestiarum 
sensum omnem humanitaiis ex animis amittimus.^^* 
I propose to address you upon this subject again. 

♦ Banish from our borders, suffer no longer to prey upon our vitals, 
this homt-hrtd cruelty among a people hitherto renowned for the mer- 
ciful treatment of their foreign foes. Its greatest evil is not this most 
atrocious murder of a free citizen, but that it extinguishes the very 
sentiment of compassion in the mildest hearts. For when our eyes 
and ears are hourly tortured with the sight and recital of deeds of 
horror, they cease even in the tenderest natures to sympathise with 
human calamity, and (he very sense of humamhf is MUeraUd from inir 


There is in the pamphlet herewith enclosed a fifth 
letter addressed to Benjamin Cowell, of Rhode 
Island, containing my opinion in favor, to a certain 
extent, of what has been called political Antimasonrj. 
As this principle has had, and must continue to have, 
a powerful influence upon the policy and upon the 
history of this Union, it will not be unworthy of 
your consideration in your other capacity of Secre- 
tary of State of these United States. I shall en- 
deavor to prove to your conviction that your exhorta- 
tion to the brethren and companions of your order 
throughout the Union, but U7idtr your jurisdiction^ 
not to be tempted to the slightest interference in po- 
litical parties^ has been and must be unavailing and 
nugatory — that so long as you adhere to the admin- 
istration of the Entered Apprentice's oath, your 
lodges and chapters must and will be political cau- 
cuses, and that Masonry will be the signal for politi- 
cal proscription to one party, as Antimasonry has 
been and will be to the other. 

I am, very respectfully, sir. 

Your fellow-citizen, 




PhUadelphia, 15 April, 183a 

Sir, — In a former letter, I stated to you the 
motives and purposes by which I was induced to 
address you, as the presiding officer of the Masonic 
order in the United States, through the medium of 
the press. They were, 

1. To defend the Antimasons of the United 
States from severe and unjust imputations and 
charges against them, preferred by you in your 
address to the brethren and companions of the so* 
ciety upon your installation in your high Masonic 

2. To make, distinctly, specifically, and under 
the responsibility of my name, the charge against 
the institution of Freemasonry, which you in that 
address had pronounced a vile and absurd calumny, 
instigated by a spirit of persecution, unjustifiable as 
arbitrary imprisonment or the tortures of the inqui- 
sition ; namely, that ^^ the cause of the offence," 
that is, of the murder of William Morgan, and of a 
multitude of other crimes, connected with it, was a 
secret tenet of the Masonic fraternity ; consisting 
in the Entered Apprentice's oath, obligation and 
penalty — the first rite of initiation in the Masonic 



3. To transmit to you four letters upon that 
Entered Apprentice's oath, obligation and penalty, 
published by me in November last, and intended to 
prove that this first rite of initiation to the order of 
Freemasonry, is, — in its naked nature, divested of 
mental reservation, stripped of the authority of 
great names, and disarmed of the shield of fraud- 
ulent explanation, — vicious, contrary to the laws of 
God, to the laws of humanity, to the laws of the 

4. To call upon you, as the head and chief of the 
whole Masonic brotherhood of the United States, 
to sustain your charges against the Antimasons — to 
vindicate the purity, the humanity, the lawfulness 
of the Entered Apprentice's oath, obligation and 
penalty — or to advise and recommend to the com- 
panions and brethren under your jurisdiction, its 


This last, sir, was my principal and ultimate 
object in addressing you — the abolition of that dis- 
graceful initiatory act, which constitutes the vital 
essence of Freemasonry. 

I intended and intend no disrespect to yoo. 
Admiring your talents, concurring in many of your 
political opinions, and believing that in the dis- 
charge of your official duties in the service of the 
one, confederated North American people, you have 
at a critical moment of their union, contributed 


much to its preservation, by dashing from their lips 
the deadly but Circaean cup of nullification and 
secession, my confidence in your character has been 
strengthened. Giving you the credit of bold resist- 
ance to dangerous political errors, and of intrepidity 
in the honorable undertaking of redeeming others 
from the same, I have been encouraged to hope 
that you will discern the pure and well-deserved 
honor which will assuredly await your name in after 
ages, if you shall avail yourself of that summit of 
Masonic dignity which you have attained, by pre- 
vailing upon the whole association to discard forever 
the use and administration of those horrible invo- 
cations of the name of a merciful God, as the 
witness to promises of secrecy to things no longer 
secret to any one, under penalties of death in every > 
variety of form which a fury could devise, or a 
demon could consummate. 

One of those oaths — that of the Royal Arch 
Companion — it is your* special province, as the 

* It appears from Allyn^s Ritual that it is not the High Priest, but 
the Principal Sojourner of a Royal Arch Chapter, who administers the 
oath and obligation to the Team of candidates whom he leads by their 
halter to the altar. But the High Priest gravely declares to them that 
an old chest which he receives, mth great swrprxBt, fh>m the Principal 
Sojourner, is iht ark of the covenant of God, He takes out of this 
chest an old book, which upon beginning to read, he iinds to be " the 
book of the Law," long lost, but now found, and he solemnly declares 
to the candidates, that " the world ta indebted to Masonry for the pres- 
ervatum of this sacred volume.^^ How edifying must this solemnity be 
to the ministers of the Gospel who take part in it! 


Grand High Priest of the order, to administer to 
every Most Excellent Master, who, not satisfied 
with this superlative excellence, still pushes forward 
in search of more light — it is the seventh of that 
series of blasphemies, or of calls upon the name of 
God in vain, by which the Masonic aspirant pur- 
chases the floods of light which pour upon him 
from every successive degree. It is in this degree 
that you turn that scene of awful solemnity, the 
calling of Moses by God himself in the burning 
bush, into a theatrical representation, and actually 
make your candidate take off his shoes, declaring 
the place on which he stands to be holy ground. 
This representation I know is emblematical, and is 
explained by you to your candidate so to be. The 
solemnities of admission to the Royal Arch are 
deeply impressive, and therefore the more excep- 
tionable by their mixture in the same ceremonies 
with childish fables and gross impostures. You 
commence with a fervent prayer to God — you open 
the Royal Arch Chapter, and read to the three can- 
didates for admission (for so many you must have) 
a great part of the lS9th Psalm. You interrogate 
them, and bid them travel three successive times ; 
and on their return you read portions of the 141st, 
142d and 143d Psalms. You then order them to 
be conducted to the altar, and there you administer 
to them the Royal Arch oath. This is the oath. 


which, 10 many of the chapters of the State of 
New York, pledges the candidate to conceal the 
secrets of a Royal Arch Companion, communicated 
to him as such — murder and treason not excepted. 
It pledges him also to assist a brother companion to 
extricate him from his difficulties, whether he be 
right or wrong. In other chapters the engage- 
ments are less onerous. They vary in almost every 
chapter. In an authentic copy of the manuscripts 
mentioned by Col. Stone in his Letters on Masonry 
and Antimasonry, one of the promises of this 
degree is to support, protect and defend a Royal 
Arch Mason, even with the sword if necessity re- 
quires. But in whatever form the oath is adminis- 
tered, its promises, whether more or less compre- 
hensive or exceptionable, are all made with invo- 
cation of the name of God ; and all under no less 
penalty than to have the swearer's skull smitten off, 
and his brains exposed to the scorching heat of the 
sun. This, sir, is the penalty under which you 
require of the candidate for the Royal Arch degree 
to swear, that he will keep all the secrets of the 
order and of its companions and brethren, and that 
he will perform the other obligations appertaining 
to that degree. You deliberately pronounce, word 
by word, causing the candidate to repeat them after 
you, the words of this oath, promise and penalty, 
closing with the adjuration, So help me God, and 


keep me steadfast to this my oath of a Royal Arch 
Mason. And before he can be qualified to take 
upon himself this obligation, he must have had six 
similar oaths administered to him, and have pledged 
himself to them, so help him God, under no less 
penalties than, 

1. To have his throat cut across from ear to ear, 
his tongue torn out by the roots and buried, (his 
tongue or his body,) buried in the rough sands of 
the sea, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in 
twenty-four hours. 

2. To have his left side cut open, his heart torn 
out by the roots, and cast away to be devoured 
by vultures. 

3. To have his body severed in two by the midst, 
his bowels burnt to ashes, and scattered to the 

The three succeeding penalties are of the same 
character, equally cruel and inhuman. 

All these penalties William Morgan had incurred 
by writing the secrets and mysteries of the craft for 
publication. If it were possible to concentrate 
upon one human being the torture of them all, the 
agonies of that mortal would not be more prolonged 
or more excruciating than was the punishment 
inflicted upon William Morgan. He was seized by 
Masonic ruflSans at noonday, hurried away from a 
dependent wife and infant children, by a warrant 


upon a false charge of larceny, taken out at thirty 
miles distant from his abode — taken out upon the 
day hallowed to the worship of God ; he was car- 
ried into another county, and discharged as innocent 
the moment he was brought to trial. Then forth- 
with arrested again for a debt of two dollars, 
imprisoned for two days, though he offered his coat 
in payment of the debt ; finally discharged again in 
the darkness of night, by an imposter under the 
guise of friendship, and, immediately upon issuing 
from prison, seized again, under cover of the night, 
by concerted signals, between the man-stealers of the 
lodge and of the chapter — gagged to stifle his cries 
for aid, forced into a coach, and transported, by 
changes of horses and carriages prepared at every 
change beforehand for his reception, one hundred 
and fifty miles, there lodged in solitary confinement, 
within the walls of an old abandoned fortress, there 
detained five days and nights, under perpetual 
threats of instant death, subject to uninterrupted 
indignity and abuse — denied the light of heaven in 
his cell, denied the use of a Bible, for which he 
earnestly entreated, and finally, at dead of night, 
transported by four Royal Arch Companions of the 
avenging craft, to the wide channel of the Niagara 
river, and there sunk to the bottom of that river. 
Nine days were occupied in the execution of this 
Masonic sentence. At least three hundred worthy 


brethren and companions of the order were engaged 
as principals or accessories in the guilt of this 
cluster of crimes — and thisj Mr. Livingston, is " the 
offence," the " cause" of which I aver to be the 
then secret tenet of the fraternity, the oath, obli- 
gation and penalty of initiation to the mysteries of 
the craft. 

I attribute them all to the Entered Apprentice's 
oath, because I consider that as the cause and 
parent of all the oaths, obligations and penalties of 
all the subsequent degrees. My ultimate object in 
these addresses being to obtain, through your influ- 
ence and recommendation, the voluntary relinquish- 
ment by the fraternity, in this Union, of these oaths 
and penalties, I have been desirous of narrowing 
down the controversy to its simplest point. I ask 
of you, and through you, 1 petition of the General 
Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, to 
abolish the Royal Arch oath and penalty — to require 
of all the chapters under your jurisdiction to cease 
from administering that and all other oaths tainted 
with the penalty of death, forever ; and this I trust 
and believe will induce the lodges to follow the 
example of the chapters, and abolish their oaths 
and penalties too, forever. 

And when I charge the Entered Apprentice's 
oath as the cause of the offence — that is, of the 
kidnapping and murder of William Morgan — I only 


meet and repel yoar charge against the Antimasons, 
as persecutors and calumniators of your fratern\jty, 
because they impute that offence to that cause. 
But this is not all the offence of which I impeach 
the Masonic penalties as the cause. The abduction 
and murder of Morgan are but two of a multitude 
of crimes, connected with that series of transactions 
of which they formed a part, all of which I impute 
to the same cause. There were crimes committed 
against Morgan before his abduction and murder — 
crimes of equal atrocity, committed against his asso- 
ciate Miller — crimes committed after the murder of 
Morgan, to shield, and screen, and protect, and aid 
and abet, its perpetrators — crimes committed by 
Masonic sheriflfs in returning juries — crimes com- 
mitted by Masonic witnesses, some in standing 
obstinately mute, and others in refusing to give the 
testimony required of them by the laws of the land 
— crimes committed by Masonic jurors in returning 
false, or in refusing to return true verdicts. All 
these I charge to the same cause ; and not the least 
among them is a false and calumnious imputation 
upon the character and good name of your own 
immediate predecessor, in the office of General 
Grand High Priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chap- 
ter of the United States, and then Governor of the 
State of New York — an imputation which embit- 
tered the last days of his life. It must be known 



to you that one of the principal conspirators against 
Morgan gave out among bis associates, to stimulate 
their faltering courage to the deed of horror, that 
he had a letter from the General Grand High Priest, 
declaring that the Morgan manuscripts must be 
suppressed, even at the cost of blood ; that such a 
letter, purporting to be from Governor Clinton, was 
exhibited, and that he, the Governor of the State of 
Nev^ York, eminent and distinguished as he had 
long been, was reduced to the humiliating necessity 
of directing that an action of slander should be 
commenced to vindicate his character before a 
judicial tribunal, where Masonic witnesses have 
since been sentenced to imprisonment for refusing 
to testify to the truth. To refute this calumny 
upon Governor Clinton, was one of the honorable 
motives of Colonel Stone, for the publication of his 
letters upon Masonry and An ti masonry. He has in 
my judgment done it effectually ; but he has admit- 
ted and shown that it was a calumny strictly 
Masonic — a natural and congenial deduction from 
the same oaths, obligations and penalties which 
sunk Morgan in the waters of the Niagara. 

In the address to your companions and brethren, 
at your installation, which has been the occasion of 
these letters to you, it was said that it would be not 
more unjust and absurd to impute to the Christian 
religion all the crimes which have been committed 


in its name, than it is to charge the institution of 
Freemasonry with the outrages of a few misguided 
and infatuated members of the craft. This argu- 
ment is familiar to all the defenders of Freemasonry, 
and has an appearance of plausibility; but it is 
fallacious. All the crimes committed in the name 
and under color of the Christian religion, have been 
perpetrated under false or erroneous constructions 
of its precepts. There is nothing in the Christian 
religion to warrant them. But whenever and wher- 
ever those false and erroneous constructions have 
been detected and exposed, they have been ex- 
ploded. This is precisely the object of the Anti- 
masons at this time, with regard to the errors and 
vices of the Masonic institution. They are to the 
order of Freemasonry what the Protestant reform- 
ers were to the Christian religion. Perhaps an 
analogy still more accurate may present itself to 
your mind between the letters of Blaise Pascal 
upon the morals of the order of Jesuits, and those 
which I have now the honor of addressing to you 
upon the morals of Masonry. The tenets which in 
the name of the Christian religion have drenched 
the world in blood, were spurious ; they formed no 
part of the religion itself. The tenets of the order 
of Jesuits, detected and exposed by Pascal, were 
not universally held by the members of that institu- 
tion — they formed no part of the constitution of the 


society, and were disclaimed by its brightest orna- 
ments. The order of Jesuits was a religious com- 
munity. The whole system of their establishment 
was founded upon the precepts of Christ. They 
read the Bible as assiduously, and with devotion as 
profound and sincere, as animates the Grand High 
Priest of the Royal Arch, upon the admission of a 
triad of candidates to that Masonic degree. And 
yet the order of Jesuits has been abolished by the 
head of the Catholic church himself, for holding 
tenets and adopting practices inconsistent with 
good morals. 

But the vices of the Masonic institution are not 
false and erroneous constructions of precepts ill 
understood and susceptible of different meanings. 
They are vices inherent in the institution itself, and 
not corruptions foisted upon it. Cruel and barba- 
rous as was the penalty inflicted upon Morgan, it 
was no more than he had at least seven times 
sworn to endure for violation of his Masonic oaths. 
His murderers, those of them who survive, are still 
WORTHY brethren, and companions of the craft. 
Not one of them has ever been expelled from lodge, 
chapter or encampment. They have been, on the 
contrary, cheered with the sympathies and relieved 
from the funds of the Grand Lodge and Grand 
Chapter of New York. You perceive then that 
whatever analogy there may be between the crimes 


committed by the corruptions of the Christian 
religion, and those resulting from Masonry, the 
inferences to be drawn from it all speak trumpet- 
tongued for the abolition of the Masonic oaths and 

In concluding this letter, I am bound to make 
my acknowledgments for a poetical parody of its 
predecessor, which I have seen in the newspaper 
called the Globe, and by which I see that you are 
disposed to treat the subject with pleasantry. 
Well, sir, so be it. The Globe is generally consid- 
ered as your political organ. In that country 
which it is said you are about to visit, you may, 
perhaps, at your hours of leisure and recreation, 
occasionally frequent the first dramatic theatre in 
the world, and there be entertained with exhibitions, 
not of Moses in the burning bush, but of some of 
the masterpieces of the human mind, in the form 
of comedies of Moli^re. You may chance to see, 
among the rest, a personage upon the stage, speak- 
ing to his servant, and about to give him an order, 
when the servant interrupts him by the inquiry, 
whether he is speaking to his coachman or to his 
cook. A similar question occurs to me with regard 
to your poet laureate. Is it one of your charioteers 
of the department of state, or a scullion of the 
kitchen ? In either event, I commend this epistle 
to the inspiration of his muse — and as for you, sir, 


when the time for seriousness shall return, and you 
shall incline to justify yourself from the charge of 
unjust accusation against multitudes of your fellow- 
citizens, or to vindicate from still more serious 
charges, the oaths, obligations and penalties, which 
it is among your official Masonic functions to ad- 
minister — when you shall return to the grave and 
solemn and religious character of the General Grand 
High Priest, I shall hope to hear from you, in verse 
or prose, in the Globe or the Intelligencer, at your 
option, but in your own person, and with the sig- 
nature of your name. 

I am, in the meantime, very 

respectfully, your fellow-citizen, 



Qttincy, 1 May, 1833* 

SiR)— -The Entered Apprentice's oath, obligation 
and penalty, upon which I undertook to animadvert, 
in the four letters to Col. William L. Stone, a copy 
of which was transmitted to you, with the first of 
these letters to yourself, was in the terms of that 
obligation as furnished by the officers of the Grand 
Lodge of Rhode Island themselves, to the commit- 


tee of the legislature of that State^ appointed to 
investigate the charges against the institution which 
had been made since the murder of Morgan, and 
which they and you pronounce calumnious. The 
obligations themselves had never been authenticated 
by the authority of adhering Masons, until they 
were produced by the officers of the Grand Lodge 
and Grand Chapter, at the peremptory requisition 
of the legblative committee. They were generally 
considered by Masons as constituting essential parts 
of the mysteries of the craft, and included strictly 
within the promise never to write, print, cut, carve, 
paint, stain or engrave them. In the practice of 
the chapters and lodges, the oaths are all adminis- 
tered by rote, and pass by tradition alone. This 
is of course the cause of the differences in the 
phraseology of the oaths as administered by differ- 
ent persons. It is one of the great inherent vices 
of the institution. It affords constant opportunity 
and frequent temptation to every chapter and lodge 
to make additions to the promises pledged by the 
recipient of each degree. 

The manuscript obligations furnished by the 
Grand Chapter and Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, 
were drawn up and reduced to writing for the 
occasion. The Grand Lodge had previously pub- 
lished a defence of Masonry, stoutly denying that 
there was any thing in the Masonic obligations 


contrary to religion, morals, or the laws of the land; 
but carefully abstaining from any statement of what 
they were. They had used that notable device of 
explaining the penalty of death for revealing the 
secrets of the craft, or of any of its members, as 
meaning only a promise to suffer death rather than 
reveal them. They had expounded and explained 
and denied the several parts and parcels of the 
Masonic obligations, till they had made them all as 
innocent as their lambskin aprons. They had es- 
pecially denied, with abundance of indignation, 
that they had ever administered or taken the oath 
to conceal the secrets of a brother Mason — " mur- 
der and treason not excepted." These words, or 
others equivalent to them, are stated, in Elder Ber- 
nard's Light on Masonry, and in Avery Allyn's 
Ritual, to form a part of the Royal Arch obligation. 
They are certified as such by the convention of 
seceding Masons, held at Le Roy, on the 4th of 
July, 1828, twenty-three of whom had taken this 
oath; and they have been since attested by ad- 
hering Masons, upon trials before judicial tribunals 
in the State of New York. They are not in the 
Royal Arch obligation reported by the Grand Chap- 
ter of Rhode Island ; but in the Master Mason's 
obligation, reported by the Grand Lodge, among 
the promises of admission to that degree are the 
fottowing words, — <<That I will keep a brother's 


secrets as my own, when committed to me in 
charge as such, murder and treason excepted.^' 
This, of course, is a pledge of immunity, for all 
other crimes, but it does except murder and treason. 
So said the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island. Yet 
even in that State, Nathan Whiting, an attorney 
and counsellor at law, who had taken the degree in 
the lodge at East Greenwich, and had been Master 
of that Lodge, testified that in the Master's degree, 
after ^' murder and treason excepted," the usual 
form was to add "and that at mt option" — 
and what the difference is between that, and " mur- 
der and treason not excepted," I leave as a problem 
in morals for Masonic casuists to solve. 

In the seventh of Col. Stone's letters upon 
Masonry, page 66, referring to the disagreement in 
the phraseology of the obligations, as given in 
different places, he makes mention of a manuscript 
then in his possession, containing copies of the 
obligations of the several degrees, as they were 
given twenty years before in the lodge and chapter 
of an eastern city — copied from the manuscript of 
a distinguished gentleman who had been Master of 
the Lodge and High Priest of the Chapter. The 
forms, says Col. Stone, are the same that were 
used in that city for a long series of years; and 
when Royal Arch Masonry was introduced into 
Rochester J in the State of New Yorky these forms^ 



from these identical papers, were then and there 
introduced and adopted. 

There is at this passage a reference to a note in 
the Appendix, stating it to have been the original 
intention of Col. Stone to insert all the obligations 
contained in that manuscript, in his text; but that 
he was compelled to suppress them from the unfore- 
seen extent of his work. He observes, that neith- 
er of the obligations in the first three degrees, in 
those manuscripts, is more than half as long as 
those disclosed by Morgan, and in common use. 
He further adds that these manuscripts give a more 
sensible and intelligible, and a less exceptionable 
account of the seven degrees of Masonry, than any 
other work he had seen ; and he concludes by 
observing that when Morgan was at Rochester j these 
papers were tliercj and already written to hi3 hands. 

It is to be regretted that Col. Stone did not 
adhere to his first intention of publishing these obli- 
gations, or rather that he did not insert the whole 
manuscript in his Appendix. I have obtained it 
from him, and annex hereto the three obligations, 
as there recorded, of the Entered Apprentice, the 
Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason** It will be 
found upon examination, that although truly repre- 
sented by him as perhaps not more than half so 

* The obligatioDB here refened to, wUl be found in the Appendix 
to thiB volume* 


long as the same obligations in Morgan^s and Ber- 
nard's books, they lose nothing of pith and moment 
by the retrenchment of words. They were the 
forms used at Rochester, and no other Masonic 
institution in the State was more deeply implicated 
in the tragedy of Morgan's kidnapping and murder, 
than that same chapter at Rochester. Now, in the 
Entered Apprentice's oath of this manuscript, the 
promise is expressly and explicitly to keep and con- 
ceal the secrets of Masons as well as Masonry. 
The penalty is the same as that reported by the 
Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, but in the Lecture 
to the candidate on his admission there is in the 
manuscript an explanation of the meaning of the 
penalty, which not only utterly falsifies the explana- 
tion of the Rhode Island Masons, so strangely 
accepted and countenanced by the majority report 
of the legislative investigating committee, but proves 
that the murderers of Morgan understood but too 
weH the real character of the obligation. 

In this Entered Apprentice's Lecture, the candi- 
date, after going through the forms of admission, is 
examined by the Master, upon interrogatories with 
regard to the meaning of all the ceremonies through 
which he has passed. Upon giving the account of 
his admission at the door, the following, word for 
word, are the questions put to him by the Master, 
and his answers : — 

Q. « What did you next hear ? " 


A* ^^One from within, saj^ing with an audible 
voice, Let him enter." 

Q. " How did you enter ? " 

A. " Upon the point of a sword, spear, or other 
warlike instrument, presented to my naked left 
breast, accompanied with this expression — Do you 

Q. " Your answer ? " 

A. « I do." 

Q. " What was next said ? " 

A. " Let this be a prick to your conscience, a 
shield to your faith, and instant death in case 


Yes, sir, this is the explanation given to the 
Entered Apprentice, at the time of his admission 
to the degrees, of the penalty under which he binds 
himself by his oath — this was the formula used in 
Connecticut more than twenty-five years since, and 
thence introduced into Rochester, in the State of 
New York. Who shall say that the murderers of 
Morgan misunderstood the import of the Entered 
Apprentice's obligation ? 

And in this same manuscript of the forms of 
admission used at Rochester, the following, word 
for word, are clauses of the Master Mason's obli- 
gation : — 

^< I furthermore promise and swear, that I will 
attend a brother barefoot, if necessity requires, to 
warn him of approaching danger; that on my 


knees I will remember him in my prayers ; that I 
will take him by the right hand and support him 
with the left, in all his just and lawful undertakings ; 
that I will keep his secrets as safely deposited in 
my breast, as they are in his own, treason and miir* 
der only excepted, and those at my oPTiOff; — 
that I will obey all true signs, tokens and sum- 
monses, sent me by the hand of a Master Mason, 
or from the door of a just and regular Master 
Mason's Lodge, if within the length of my cable* 

This was the form of admission to the Master 
Mason's degree, at Rochester, when the chapter at 
Rochester decided that Morgan had incurred the 
penalties of his obligations, and sent out their signs, 
tokens and summonses accordingly. 

These were the oaths which every Master Mason 
admitted at the lodge in Rochester, had taken. All 
this he had ^* most solemnly and sincerely promised 
and sworn with a full and hearty resolution to per- 
form the same without any evasion, equivocation or 
mental reservation — under no less penalty than to 
have his body cut across, his bowels taken out and 
burnt to ashes, and those ashes scattered to the four 
winds of heaven ; to have his body dissected into 
four equal parts, and those parts hung on the cardi- 
nal points of the compass^ there to hang and remain 
as a terror to all those who shall presume to violate 
the sacred obligation of a Master Mason." 


Col. Stone, in his seventh letter, page 67, says, 
that in his apprehension the words, '^ and they left 
to my own election,^^ are an innovation, and that he 
has not been accustomed to hear the obligation so 
conferred. The words in his own manuscript are, 
" and those at my option ; " fewer words, but bear- 
ing the same meaning. They were no innovation 
at Rochester. 

The only words in this obligation which need any 
explanation, are the words cable-towj and they are 
always so explained as to give them a definite mean- 
ing. The rest are all as explicit as language can 
make them, and they are taken with a broad and 
total disclaimer of all evasion, equivocation or men- 
tal reservation. So they were taken at Rochester, 
and so they are recorded in the old manuscript of 
Col. Stone. 

You are a classical scholar, sir, and you doubtless 
remember the humorous remark of Cicero, in his 
dialogue on the nature of the gods ; that he could 
not conceive how one Roman Haruspex could look 
another in the face without laughing. I find it 
equally difficult to conceive how you, performing 
the functions of a Master of a Lodge, as among the 
duties of a Grand High Priest you may be required 
to do — how you can look in the face of a man after 
administering to him such an oath as this, without 
shuddering. But we have not yet done with the 
old manuscript of Col Stone. 


After the ceremonies of admission to the degree 
of Master Mason are completed, and the recipient 
has been invested in his new dignity, he is conduct- 
ed to the Master of the Lodge in the East, there to 
hear from him the history of the degree. There, 
sir, with equal regard for historical truth, and rev- 
erence for the Holy Scriptures, you mingle up the 
building of Solomon's Temple, as recorded in the 
Bible, with the murder of Hiram AWfT by three 
Tyrian Fellow Craft, Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum, 
as preserved in the chronicles of Masonic mystery. 
You relate them all as solemn truth of equal authen- 
ticity, and in the manuscript now before me, the 
story goes that after the murder of Hiram Abiff 
was consummated, King Solomon was informed of 
the conspiracy and ordered the roll to be called, 
when the three ruffians were missing. Search 
^* was made after them, and they were found by 
their dolorous moans, in a cave. O, said Jubela, 
that my throat had been cut across, &c. [repeating 
the whole penalty of the Entered Apprentice's obli- 
gation] before I had been accessory to the death of 
so good a Master. O, said Jubelo, tt^t my heart 
had been torn out, &c. [repeating the whole penalty 
of the Fellow Craft's obligation] before I had been 
accessory to the death of our Master. O, said Ju- 
belum, that my body were cut across, my bowels 
taken out and burnt to ashes, &c. [repeating the 


whole penalty of the Master Mason's obligation] be- 
fore I had been the death of our Master Hiram Abiff. 
Thej were then taken, and sent to Hiram, king of 
Tyre, who executed on them the several sentences 
they had invoked upon themselves," which have 


This, sir, is the history of the Master Mason's 
degree, which was delivered by the Master of the 
Lodge at Rochester to every individual received as 
a Master Mason. This was the explanation given 
to him of the obligation assumed by him, immedi- 
ately after the administration of the oath. This is 
in substance the explanation which you, the reporter 
of a criminal code to the legislature of Louisiana, 
must give to every Master Mason whom you receive, 
of the penalty of the oath which you administer to 
him in the name of the ever living God — without 
evasion — ^without equivocation — without mental res- 

And will you say, sir, as the Grand Lodge of 
Rhode Island have said, that these penalties mean 
no more thaa that the swearer, who invokes them 
upon himself, will rather die like Hiram AbifT, than 
reveal the secrets of Masonry ? Is it Hiram Abiff 
in this story who pays the penalty of violated vows? 
Is it Hiram Abiff who invokes these penalties upon 
himself? The Entered Apprentice, the Fellow 


Crafty and the Master Mason, invoke upon them- 
selves the penalties of their respective degrees. 
The Entered Apprentice is told that he enters the 
lodge on the point of a naked sword pricking his 
breast to remind him of instant death in case of 
REVOLT ; and the Master Mason is told that the 
penalties executed upon Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum, 
have ever since remained the standing penalties in 
the three first degrees of Masonry. 

And now, sir, what are we to think of High 
Priests, and Royal Arch Chapters, and Grand Mas- 
ters, and Grand Lodges, who, after taking and 
administering in secret these oaths, with these pen- 
alties, for a long series of years, when their real 
character has been proclaimed by the voice of mid- 
night murder from the waters of Niagara in tones to 
which the thunders of her cataract are but as a 
whisper — ^when their unequivocal import has been 
divulged, to the amazement and disgust and horror 
of all pure, unsophisticated minds ; what are we to 
think of High Priests, and Grand Kings, and most 
illustrious Knights of the Cross, who face it out in 
defiance of the common sense and common feeling 
of mankind, that there is nothing in these oaths and 
penalties inconsistent with the duties of those who 
take and administer them to their country or their 
God ? The manuscript from which I now give to the 
world the three obligations of the Entered Appren- 



tice, of the Fellow Craft, and of the Master Mason, 
IS upon the testimony of Col. Stone, a Knight Tem- 
plar and a man of unimpeached integrity, Masonry 
in its most mitigated and least exceptionable form — 
it was the Masonry of Connecticut more than twen- 
ty-five years since and for many years before — it 
was the Masonry of Rochester at the time of the 
murder of Morgan. 

I have yet more to say to you, sir, on this subject, 
nor shall I be discouraged from continuing to address 
you upon it by your observance of a <* dignified 
silence.^' If my letters are not read by you, there 
are those by whom they will be read, I trust, not 
without effect. If the presses under your jurisdic- 
tion, Masonic or political, refuse their columns to 
the discussion of Masonic morals, when the Grand 
High Priest of Masonry is the Secretary of State of 
the Union, it may serve to illustrate the subserviency 
of the periodical press to Masonry — but your address 
to your companions and brethren at your installation 
as the Grand High Priest of the Royal Arch of this 
Union, is not the perishable efiliision of a day. It is 
a state paper for history, and for biography — for the 
present age and for the next — it shall not be lost to 
posterity — it shall stand as a beacon to future time 
•—the admiration, or at least the wonder of other 




Quincy, 23 May, 1833. 

Sir, — The position which I have undertaken to 
prove, beyond all possibility of rational denial, is, 
that the ^^ cause of the offence," that is, of the mur- 
der of* William Morgan, and of a multitude of other 
crimes associated with and subsequent to that act, 
was the oath of initiation to the Masonic institution, 
with its appended penalty. 

Had Morgan never taken any other oath than that 
of the Entered Apprentice, he would, after writing 
his Illustrations of Masonry, have been liable to the 
penalty which he suffered — even before they should 
be published. Like Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum, he 
had invoked the penalty upon himself; he suffered 
nothing more than the penalty which he had been 
assured had been executed upon them; nothing 
more than what he had been warned had been the 
standing penalties of Freemasonry from the time of 
the building of Solomon's Temple. 

All the obligations are assumed, with invocation 
of the penalty of deatk, upon him who takes the oath 
of admission to each of the several degrees ; pro- 
fiounced with his own lips, and with a solemn ap- 
peal to God, disclaiming all evasion, all equivocation, 
all mental reservation* 


Such is the law of Masonry. 

Shall I cite to you, sir, from your able and elo- 
quent report to the legislature of Louisiana, the 
powerful argument against the infliction of death 
upon any criminal for the commission of any crime 
whatsoever? The whole argument is well wor- 
thy to be read and studied, by every person con- 
versant with the administration or enactment of 
criminal law, and of the deep consideration, espe- 
cially of the brethren and companions of the craft. 
But the introduction to it is so peculiarly appropriate 
to the purpose of these addresses to you, that I take 
the liberty of presenting it to you in your own 

^^ I approached the inquiry into the nature and 
effect of this punishment (of death) with the awe 
becoming a man who felt most deeply his liability to 
err, and the necessity of forming a correct opinion 
on a point so interesting to the justice of the coun- 
try, the life of its citizens, and the character of its 
laws. I strove to clear my understanding from all 
prejudices which education or early impressions 
might have created, and to produce a frame of mind 
fitted for the investigation of truth and the impartial 
examination of the arguments on this great question. 
For this purpose I not only consulted such writers 
on the subject as were within my reach, but endeav- 
ored to procure a knowledge of the practical effect 


of this punishment on different crimes in the several 
countries where it is inflicted/ In niy situation, 
however, I could draw but a limited advantage from 
either of these sources ; very few books on penal 
law, even those most commonly referred to, are to be 
found in the scanty collections of this place, and my 
failure in procuring information from the other 
States, is more to be regretted on this than any other 
topic on which it was requested. With these inad- 
equate means, but after the best use that my facul- 
ties would enable me to make of them ; after long 
reflection, and not until I had canvassed e^ery argu- 
ment that could suggest itself to my mind, I came 
to the conclusion, that the punishment of death 


Now, sir, I ask of you, as the Grand High Priest 
of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the 
United States, to make to the chapters and lodges, 
to the companions and brethren under your juris- 
diction, that same recommendation to abolish the 
penalty of death, which with such deep and affect- 
ing solemnity you did make, in reporting a code of 
criminal law, to the legislature of Louisiana. The 
argument of which 1 have here given only the intro- 
ductory paragraph embraces a very large portion, 
nearly one half, of your report on the criminal code. 
In the system reported with it, murder, and joining 


an iusurrection of slaves, are made punishable with 
hard labor for life. At the close of this letter, I an^ 
nex several other extracts,* as well from the report, 
as from the preamble to the penal code reported 
with it, indicative not only of your deliberate and 
solemn opinions, adverse to the punishment of death 
in all cases whatsoever, but of the abhorrence which 
you must feel at heart, for those brutal mutilations 
of the body, which constitute the penalties of every 
Masonic obligation. 

It is not, Mr. Livingston, for the poor purpose of 
bringing against you a charge of inconsistency 
before the tribunal of public opinion, that I address 
these letters to you, and call earnestly upon you to 
make this recommendation. I would, if possible, 
speak to your heart. I would say, you have re- 
commended, you have urged by appeals to the best 
feelings of our nature, to the supreme legislative 
authority of your State, the total abolition of the 
penalty of death — the reformatbn of every thing 
cruel, indecorous or vindictive in her code of crim- 
inal law. You are at the head in these United 
States of a private association of immense power—* 
co-extensive with the civilized world — knit together 
by ties of strong prevailment even when secret^ 
scarcely less efficacious when divulged. Whan 

* These «cti»6tf V9 iowirted io the Appeniisc to th» volume. 


secret, they were riveted by pledges to the penalty 
of death and mutilation in a multitude of forms, 
given in the name of God, and varnished with an 
imposture of sanctity, by being mingled up with 
the most solemn testimonials of holy writ. Even 
now, when your secrets are divulged, when your 
obligations and penalties have been exposed in their 
naked and undeniable nature, when you dare not 
attempt to vindicate or defend them, when the 
attempts of your brethren to explain them have 
been proved fraudulent and delusive, when your 
only resource of apology for using them is that they 
are null and void— words utterly without meaning, 
— yet you still persevere in adhering to them as the 
ancient landmarks of the order. Ask yourself, sir, 
not whether this is consistent with your report and 
criminal code for Louisiana ; but whether it is 
worthy of your character — of your stand in the 
face of your country and of mankind ; of your repu- 
tation in after time ; and if it is not and cannot 
be, why should you not take the occasion of the 
high dignity which in this association you have 
attained, to propose and to promote its reformation ? 
to divest it of that, which, so long as it continues, 
can never cease to shed disgrace upon the whole 
order ; of that which cannot even be repeated with- 
out shame ? 

You have taken no public notice of these letters 


in your own name, nor have I been particularly 
solicitous that you should. Had you ventured to 
assume the defence of the Masonic oaths, obliga- 
tions and penalties — had you presumed to commit 
your name to the assertion that they can by any 
possibility be reconciled to the laws of morality, of 
Christianity, or of the land, I should have deemed 
it my duty to reply, and to have completed the 
demonstration before God and man that they can- 
not. Of the multitude of defences of Masonry, 
which have been obtruded upon the public since 
this controversy arose, not one has dared to look 
these obligations in the face, and assert their inno- 
cence. Abuse upon the Antimasons for denouncing 
them — impudent denials of their import, so long as 
a remnant of the ragged veil of secrecy rent by the 
seceders, could yet be drawn over their nakedness 
— false and fraudulent explanations of their mean- 
ing when disclosed beyond all possibility of denial, 
and mystical and mystified declarations of inflexible 
adherence to them under the name of the ancient 
landmarks of the institution — these have been the 
last resources, the forlorn hopes of the Masonic 

And this inflexible adherence to these ancient 
landmarks is again recommended to the chapters 
and lodges under your jurisdiction by the General 
Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, of which 


you are the High Priest, at their triennial meeting 
in Baltimore last November. At that meeting you 
were re-elected to the dignity which you had held 
from the time of your address to the companions 
and brethren of the order at your installation in 
April, 1830. A letter from you was read at that 
meeting, apologizing for your absence from it, and 
perhaps for the better' accommodation of the Grand 
High Priest, that meeting was adjourned to be held 
again in November, 1835, at the city of Wash- 

There is a point of view in which I believe this 
subject to be deeply interesting to the people of 
this Union, upon which I have hitherto said nothing, 
and upon which I do not wish to enlarge. The 
President of the United States is a brother of the 
craft, bound by its oaths, obligations and penalties, 
to the exclusive favors, be they more or less, of 
which they give the mutual pledge. That in the 
troubles and difficulties which within the last seven 
years have befallen the craft, they have availed 
themselves of his name, and authority, and in- 
fluence to sustain their drooping fortunes, as far as 
has been in their power, has been matter of public 
notoriety. A sense of propriety has restrained him 
from joining in their processions, as he has been 
importunately urged by invitations to do, but he has 
not withheld from them his support. It is not mj 



iatention to comment upon the operation of the 
Masonic obligations, upon the two most recent 
elections to the presidency of the United States, or 
upon the official conduct of the President himself in 
relation to the institution or its members. But 
whoever will impartially reflect upon the import of 
the Masonic obligations, and upon the public history 
of the United States for the last ten years, must 
come to the conclusion, that no President of the 
United States ought ever to be shackled by such 
obligations, or under the self-assumed burden of 
such penalties. They establish between him and 
all the members of the institution, and between 
him and the institution itself, relations not only 
different from, but utterly incompatible with those 
in which his station places him with the whole com- 
munity. That the President of the United States 
is not at this moment an impartial person in the 
question between Masonry and Antimasonry, nor 
between Masons and Antimasons, has been fully 
authenticated, by something more than the effusions 
of your scullion in the Globe. He is not impar- 
tial. How can he be impartial after trammelling 
himself with promises, such as those which are now 
unequivocally authenticated before the world ? 

And you, Mr. Livingston, Secretary of State of 

the United States, are at the same time Grand 

I High Priest of the General Grand Royal Arch 


Chapter of the United States ; and all the Royal 
Arch Chapters of all the States of this Union are 
under the jurisdiction of that over which you pre- 
side. Are you impartial in the question between 
Masonry and Antimasonry ? Are you, or can you 
be impartial in any question which can arise 
between Masons and Antimasons ? You com- 
menced your official duties as Grand High Priest, 
by a sweeping denunciation of all the Antimasons 
in the Union. The Antimasons were then a great 
political party. They are so still. You brought 
against them, what I have proved to be, a most 
unjust accusation. Are you impartial between 
them and their adversaries? Has human nature 
changed its properties since one of them was by 
a profound observer said to be, to hate those whom 
you have injured, * odisse quem laeseris ' ? How 
far distant from such a denunciation of Antimasonry 
a^ that with which you gratified your companions 
and brethren at your installation, is the dismission 
for Antimasonry of an officer of the United States, 
dependent upon you for his place? Is it as far 
as the department of state from the general post 
office ? In all the trials before the judicial courts of 
the State of New York, to which the abduction and 
murder of Morgan has given rise, the efficacy of the 
Masonic obligations upon sheriffs, jurors and wit- 
Besses to warp them from their duty to their country 


has been lamentably proved — what security can the 
country possess that they will not operate in the 
same manner upon a Secretary of State, or a Presi- 
dent of the United States ? Were the Masonic 
obligations equivocal in their character, were they 
even susceptible of the explanations which have 
been attempted to be given of them, the undeniable 
fact, that they have been understood and acted upon 
according to their literal import, by great multitudes 
of Masons, to the total prostration of their duties to 
the laws of their country, would be a conclusive 
reason for abolishing them altogether. For if the 
obligations are of a nature to be differently under- 
stood by different persons, their consistency or in- 
consistency with the laws of the land, must depend 
upon the individual characters of those who have 
assumed them. Bound by the same oaths, some of 
the witnesses and jurors on the Masonic trials in 
New York have given their testimony and true 
verdicts, while others have obstinately refused their 
testimony to facts within their knowledge, and 
denied their assent to verdicts upon the clearest 
proof. It has been judicially decided in the States 
of New York and of Rhode Island that a person 
under Masonic obligations, must be set aside as 
disqualified to serve upon a jury in cases where one 
of the parties is a Mason, and the other is not. 
From the letter of his obligations he cannot be 


impartial, and although some Masons may under- 
stand them otherwise, neither the court, nor the 
party whose rights and interests are staked upon 
the trial, can have any assurance that the trial will 
be fair. The same uncertainty must rest upon the 
administration of executive officers. If the Presi- 
dent of the United States, and the Secretary of 
State, are bound by solemn oaths and under horrible 
penalties to befriend and favor one class of individ- 
uals in the community more than another, the pur- 
poses for which those offices are instituted must be 
frustrated ; a privileged order is palmed upon the 
community, more corrupting, more pernicious than 
the titles of nobility which our constitutions ex- 
pressly prohibit, because its privileges are dispensed 
and enjoined under an avowed pledge of inviolable 
secrecy. In many of the New York chapters, the 
promise to promote the political preferment of a 
brother of the craft, over others equally qualified, 
was one of the Royal Arch obligations to which the 
companion was sworn upon the penalty of death. 
How far such an obligation would influence the 
official conduct of a President of the United States, 
it is impossible to say ; but not more impossible 
than for that officer to fulfil the obligations of such 
a promise and to perform his duties with impar- 
At the time when you delivered the Address upon 


your installation as Grand High Priest of the Gen- 
eral Grand Chapter, Antimasonry had already exist- 
ed upwards of three years. It was an extensive 
political party, although then in a great measure 
confined within the limits of the State of New York. 
You denounced it in no measured terms. Had the 
charges which you openly brought against it been 
true, every individual within the scope of your de- 
nunciation must have been an unworthy citizen and 
a dishonest man. Such has been the tone of all the 
defences and defenders of Masonry, from that day to 
this. If the Masonic obligations were understood in 
all ordinary times not to interfere with the religion 
or the politics of individuals, how can it be possible 
to preserve this nominal exception when Masonry 
itself has become the most prominent object of po- 
litical dissension ? As a political party, the Anti- 
masons of the United States are, at this day, pro- 
bably more numerous than the Masons. In several 
of the States, the most important elections turn upon 
that point alone. The Antimasons openly avow the 
principle of voting for no other than Antimasonic 
candidates. How is it possible for the Masons to 
preserve themselves from the political bias, prompt- 
ing them to repel Antimasonry ? They have in fact 
no such equanimity. They never fail to bring for- 
ward a candidate of their own when possible ; and 
when they find it impracticable, they unite with any 


party, whatever may be their aversion to it, and 
however obnoxious its politics, to exclude the Anti- 

In your letter to the General Grand Royal Arch 
Chapter of the United States, of the 26th of Novem- 
ber, 1832, apologizing to them for not attending at 
their meeting, then about to be held at Baltimore, 
you said thus — " You know (notwithstanding the 
allegations of our enemies) that the duties we owe 
to our country are paramount to the obligations of 
Masonry, or to the indulgence of fraternal feelings." 
Now, sir, my appeal is to the very principle here 
asserted by yourself. I aver that your duty to your 
country is violated by the administration of the 
Masonic oaths and obligations under penalties of 
death, invoked in the name of God — penalties mul- 
tiplied beyond those of the most sanguinary code 
that ever disgraced human legislation, and for 
offences which the supreme law of the State cannot 
recognize as the most trifling of misdemeanors. 

At that triennial meeting of the General Grand 
Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, a com- 
mittee was appointed ^' to take into consideration 
the present situation of our [the Masonic] institu- 
tion, and recommend such things and measures as 
they in their wisdom may consider expedient and 

The report of that committee, and the resolutions 


proposed by them, and adopted by the General 
Grand Chapter of the United States, were the 
immediate occasion of these letters to you. This 
circumstance may account, in part, for what appears 
to have surprised some of your friends — that I 
should now hold you accountable for an address 
delivered so long since as April, 1830. That was 
your declaration of war against the Antimasons. 
In November, 1832, you still proclaimed them to be 
your enemies^ and the General Grand Royal Arch 
Chapter, in full triennial meeting, repeated with 
renewed and aggravated denunciations, all your 
erroneous charges against them. Upon that report, 
and upon the resolutions with which it closed, I 
shall in my next letter submit to the consideration 
of the public some observations. 



Qaincy, 12 June, 1833. 

Sir, — From the official published report of the 
proceedings of the General Grand Royal Arch 
Chapter of the United States, at their triennial 
meeting at Baltimore, last November, it appears 
that a communication was made to that meeting 
from the M. £. Nathan R. Haswell, G. H. P. 


(meaning Grand High Priest) of the Grand Chap- 
ter of Vermont, together with accompanying doc- 
uments, and that this communication and the accom- 
panying documents were referred to a committee 
which is denominated one of the most important 
committees then appointed, and they were instruct- 
ed to take into consideration the present situation 
of the Masonic institution, and to recommend such 
things and measures, as they in their wisdom might 
consider expedient and necessary. 

The first remark that invites attention here, is, that 
this meeting was composed of individuals all be- 
longing to different States of this Union, some of 
them occupying stations of power and dignity in 
their several States. The chairman of the commit- 
tee to whom this communication was referred, and 
who made the report upon which I am to comment, 
is a member of the executive council of the Com- 
monwealth of Massachusetts, elected from a county 
exceedingly divided upon the questions between 
Masonry and Antimasonry — elected at the same 
time another was excluded from the same office, who 
though an ardent National Republican, and a sufferer 
by proscription from office by the present national 
administration, was discarded for a slight real or 
suspected taint of Antimasonry. 

Here then is a member of the council of the State 
of Massachusetts, elected expressly in opposition to 



the Antimasonic party of the county of Bristol in 
that State, representing the Grand Royal Arch 
Chapter of Massachusetts, at a general convention 
of all the Royal Arch Chapters of the United States, 
to which is referred a communication and documents 
from the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Vermont. 

That the report of a committee of which this gen- 
tleman was the chairman, should be marked with 
strong resentment against the Antimasons of Ver- 
mont, was to be expected. Political Antimasonry 
has been more successful in Vermont than in the 
county of Bristol in Massachusetts. 

The report, therefore, states that it appears from 
the appeal published by the Masons in Vermont in 
1829, that various presses had been established in 
that State as vehicles of slander and malignity 
against the adherents of Masonry. 

This is precisely a repetition of the language of 
your address at your installation in April, 1830. It 
is certainly not a correct representation of factSi and 
it contains itself a slanderous imputation upon a 
majority of the people of the State of Vermont. 

Now, sir, for a far more rational and accurate 
history of Antimasonry as it existed in the State of 
Vermont in the years 1829 and '30, I refer you to a 
pamphlet entitled ^^ Masonic Penalties,'^ published 
in August, 1830, by William Slade, now a member 
elect of the House of Representatives of the United 
States from that State. 


In this pamphlet you will see that Mr. Slade com- 
menced the publication of his essays on the Masonic 
penalties, on the 7th of April, 1830, a very few days 
before your installation and the delivery of your ad- 
dress. You have probably never seen those essays ; 
for it appears to be one of the maxims of Masonry, 
while denouncing as slander, malignity and persecu- 
tion, every impeachment of the institution, to ^* know 
nothing about " the real serious charges against it- 
It is therefore highly probable that you know noth- 
ing about Mn Slade's essays on Masonic penalties. 
And I take it for granted that the committee of the 
Ueneral Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United 
States, who reported this bitter denunciation against 
the Antimasons of Vermont, knew no more about it 
than you do. I will hazard a conjecture that among 
the documents transmitted by the Grand High Priest 
of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Vermont, and 
npoH which the committee made their report, it 
would be a vain search to look for Mr. Slade's 
essays upon the Masonic penalties. ^* Dignified 
silence " was the rule to be observed with regard to 
them — and yet, sir, attempts were made to answer 
them. It is so far from being true that presses were 
ftet up in Vermont as vehicles of slander and malig- 
nity against the adherents of Masonry, that the editor 
of the Vermont American, who began the publication 
of Mr. Slade's essays, suspended them after the third 


number, under the terror of Masonic vengeance ; and 
Mr. Slade was compelled to publish the remaining 
numbers in an extra sheet. Yet the columns of the 
Vermont American, when closed against Mr. Slade, 
were opened to the defenders of Masonry, and two 
writers, under the signatures of ^^ Common Sense of 
the Old School,'^ and of " Senex," vainly attempted 
to refute the unanswerable arguments of his first 
three numbers. Mr. Slade replied, but was obliged 
to resort to the pages of a free presSj one of those 
defamed by the report of the committee of the Gen- 
eral Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States. 
Mr. Slade published in a pamphlet, under the re* 
sponsibility of his name, his own essays, and those 
of his adversaries; and this procedure was in the 
same spirit of fairness and candor, which marked his 
whole management of the controversy. I recom- 
mend to you the serious and attentive perusal of the 
pamphlet ; for if it should serve no other purpose 
than to preserve you and the General Grand Royal 
Arch Chapter of the United States from the reitera- 
tion of insult and slander upon the people of a high- 
ly respectable State of this Union^ it will have a just 
claim to your grateful acknowledgments — insult and 
slander upon the people of Vermont, who by their votes 
at the last Presidential election, as well as by their 
suflfrages at two succeeding elections for the exec- 
utive officers and the State legislature, have signally 


vindicated the cause of Antimasonry. To this re- 
sult it is obvious that Mr. Slade's essays upon the 
Masonic penalties, did in an eminent degree con- 
tribute. It was impossible that they should fail to 
produce their effect upon the minds of an intelligent 
and virtuous people. These essays carry with them 
internal and irresistible evidence in refutation of the 
charge against the Antimasonic presses of Vermont, 
proffered by the committee of the General Grand 
Royal Arch Chapter of the United States. The 
essays on the Masonic penalties are not less remark- 
able for their moderation, delicacy and tenderness to 
me adherents of Masonry, than for the close and 
pressing cogency of their arguments against the in- 
stitution. They charge not the adherents of Ma- 
sonry, but Masonry itself, with the murder of Morgan 
and all its execrable progeny of crimes. 

The report of the committee proceeds to state 
that the members of the Grand Lodge of Vermont, 
and other Masons in the State, to the number of 
Bearly two hundred, published in 1829 an appeal 
declaring that they as Masons had been charged — 

1. With being accessory to the abduction of 
William Morgan. 

2. With shielding Masons from just punishment 
for crimes they might have committed. 

3. With exercising a Masonic influence over 
legislative, executive and judiciary branches of the 


4. With tampering with juries. 
B. With exerting an improper influence for the 
political preferment of the brotherhood. 

6. With various blasphemous practices. 

7. With causing the death of a distinguished 

8« With sanctioning principles at variance with 
religion and virtue. 

9. With the assumption of a power to judge 
individual Masons by laws known only to the 
fraternity, and to inflict punishments corporeally, 
even unto the pains of death. 

Of each and all of these charges they aflSrm in 
the most solemn manner, that they were entirely 

Now the error which pervades the whole of thia 
declaration consists in this: that the individual 
Masons who volunteer this plea of not guilty, apply 
gratuitously to themselves the charges which the 
Antifoasoiis bring against the institution to which 
they belong, and to its initiatory obligations and 
solemnities. The charges are against the plain 
unequivocal import of the hws of Masonry. The 
charges are that those laws do in their awn nature 
lead to and instigate the commission of all those 
crimes, and that they h€tve led to and instigated the 
perpetration of them. Two hundred Masons of 
Vermont declare tkeoiselves guiltless of aU th^se 


charges. There are perhaps two thousand Masons 
in the State — suppose the two hundred appellants 
to be not guilty ; that surely no more proves the 
innocence than it does the guilt of the remaining 
eighteen hundred. Had the Masons of^V^ermont 
been desirous of making up a recU issue between 
themselves and the Antimasons, they should have 
said, We have been charged with administering and 
taking oaths and obligations, with multiplied pen- 
alties of death, which lead into the temptation of 
all those crimes, and which have led to the com- 
mission of them, and we have been urged to abolish 
these oaths, obligations and penalties. 

There is another error in this statement of the 
charges against themselves, to which the appellants 
pleaded not guilty, evidently suited to evade the 
real question at issue. Their charges are couched 
in general and indefinite terms, prepared for the 
purpose of meeting them with positive denial, by 
the mental reservation of their own misconstruc- 
tions. They say, for example, that they have been 
charged with various blasphemous practices. Now 
what do they mean by blasphemous practices ? 
Blasphemy, by the common law, and by some of 
the statutes of the States, is an indictable crime— 
and it is defined by Blackstone to be the denial of 
the being or providence of God; or contumelious 
reproaches of our Saviour, Christ ; or profane scoffs 


ing at the holy Scripture, or exposing it to contempt 
and ridicule. 

Now, sir, if before the disclosures of William 
Morgan, at the ceremonies of initiation to the sev- 
eral degrees of Masonrj, the Grand High Priests of 
Royal Arch Chapters, and the Masters of Lodges, 
instead of consciously hiding their heads in secrecy; 
if you, sir, as the Sovereign Master, or Most Excel- 
lent Prelate of an Encampment, as the Grand High 
Priest, or Principal Sojourner of a Chapter, or as the 
Master of a Lodge, had exhibited in public the the- 
atrical representations of the murder of Hiram AbiflT, 
of Moses and the God of heaven in the burning bush, 
and of drinking the fifth libation from a human skull, 
with an invocation by the drinker of all the sins of 
him whose skull formed that cup, upon his own 
head ; if in the presence of your fellow-citizens, you 
had uttered, as equally grave and solemn truth, a 
narrative compounded one half of quotations from 
holy writ, and the other half of the senseless and 
brutal mummeries of Masonry, would you have been 
surprised, if the next morning a grand jury of your 
country had presented you for blasphemy? Could 
you have imagined any thing more calculated to 
bring reproach and contempt and ridicule upon the 
name of God and upon the Holy Scriptures ? If 
any one of the ministers of God whom you allure 
into the bosom of a charitable institution, by admit- 


ting them gratuitously to its promises and its rewards, 
should tell his people from the pulpit, that Hiram 
Abiff, the widow's son, was Master of a Lodge of 
Masons, at the building of Solomon's Temple ; that 
he was murdered by three Fellow Crafts, named 
Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum ; that those three Fel- 
low Crafts had suffered the penalties which thej 
had invoked upon themselves, and that ever since 
that time those same penalties had been the stand- 
ing penalties of the first three degrees of Masonry, 
would there be one hearer of that minister of Christ 
beyond the reach of the cable-tow, but would pro- 
nounce him guilty of provoking contempt and ridi- 
cule upon the Scriptures ? 

Why, sir, if the pastor of a Christian church 
should bind up Gulliver's Travels between the Old 
and New Testament of his Bible, and read indis- 
criminately from the whole, the gospel, epistle, or 
collect of the day, what opinion would his auditory 
form of his piety or his morals ? And yet there is 
much of truth, and much of moral instruction in 
Gulliver's Travels. Far, far more of wisdom in the 
philosophers of the flying island of Lagado, than in 
the bungling metamorphosis of Hiram, the Tyrian 
brass-founder at the building of Solomon's Temple, 
into a Master Mason, or in the ^^ butcheries which 
would disgust a savage " executed upon the three 
Tyrian Fellow Crafts, and which you require of the 



candidates for admission to the three first degrees, 
to invoke upon themselves. 

These are the practices which some of the ardent 
and zealous Antimasons of Vermont may possibly 
have qualified as blasphemous. I am not willing to 
consider them as such. That very secrecy under 
which they are performed, and which otherwise con- 
stitutes one of the most powerful objections to the 
institution, may perhaps relieve it from the charge 
of blasphemy. The intention is not to provoke 
contempt and ridicule upon the Scriptures, although 
the efiect of them, as dramatic fictions, must often 
be to produce it. When John Milton published his 
Paradise Lost, Andrew Marvell declared that be for 
some time misdoubted his intent, 

Tliat he would ruin 
The sacred truths to fable and old song — 

And he adds — 

Or if a work so infinite be spanned. 
Jealous I was that some lees skilful hand. 
Might hence presume the whole ereation*s day, 
To change in seenes, and show U m afl/og* 

That which the penetrating sagacity and sincere 
piety <tf Andrew Marvell apprehended as an evil 
which might result even from the sublime strains of 
the Paradise Lost, is precisely what the contrivers of 


the Masonic mysteries have effected. They have 
travestied the avi^ful and miraculous supernatural 
communications of the ineffable Jehovah to his fa- 
vored people, into stage plays. That Word, which 
in the beginning was with God, and was God ; that 
abstract, incorporeal, essential and ever-living exist- 
ence ; that eternal presence without past, without 
future time ; that Being, without beginning of days 
or end of years, declared to Moses under the name 
of I AM THAT I AM ; the mountebank juggle- 
ries of Masonry turn into a farce. A companion of 
the Royal Arch personates Almighty God, and de- 
clares himself the Being of all eternity — I AM 
THAT I AM. Your intention in the performance 
of this ceremony is to strike the imagination of the 
candidate with terror and amazement. I acquit the 
fraternity, therefore, of blasphemy. But I cannot 
acquit them of extreme indiscretion, and inexcusable 
abuse of the Holy Scriptures. The sealed obliga- 
tion, the drinking of wine Grom a human skull, is a 
ceremony not less objectionable. This you know, 
sir, is the scene, in which the candidate takes the 
skull in his hand and says, ^^ As the sins of the whole 
world were laid upon the head of our Saviour, so 
may the sins of the person whose skull this once 
was, be heaped upon my head in addition to my 
own ; and may they appear in judgment against me, 
both here and hereafter, should I violate any obli- 


gation in Masonry or the orders of knighthood 
which I have heretofore taken, take at this time, or 
may be hereafter instructed in ; so help me God," 
— and he drinks the wine from the skull. 

And is not this enough ? No. The Knight 
Templar takes an oath containing many promises — 
binding himself under no less penalty than to have 
his head struck off and placed on the highest spire 
in Christendom, should he knowingly or willingly 
violate any part of his solemn obligation of a Knight 

Mr. Livingston, is this a fitting obligation for a 
Christian man to take or to administer ? Can you, 
can any man be surprised if some of the Antimasons 
of Vermont have mistaken it for blasphemy ? When 
the Masons of Vermont, or when the Grand En- 
campment of the United States shall feel sufficient 
confidence in their own integrity to meet the real 
charges against the institution face to face, let them 
not resort to their refuge of secrecy, as a hunted 
ostrich hides his head in the sand — let them frankly 
acknowledge the dramatic exhibition of the burning 
bush, and the mystical cup of the fifth libation, and 
give their definition of blasphemy from which these 
practices shall be pure. 

And these remarks apply equally to the declara- 
tions of the Masons in Connecticut, and of the twelve 
hundred in Massachusetts. The report of the com- 


mittee of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter 
says, that these declarations were made with ap- 
parent sincerity of heart, that they denied the 
charges against them, [the Masons,] ^^ and univer- 
sally cast themselves and their cause upon the good 
sense of the country, for a calm, dispassionate and 
enlightened verdict." 

And here the report of the committee rested the 
statement respecting the condition of Masonry in 
Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The 
meeting of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter 
was held at the close of November, 1832. The 
committee was raised to report upon the present 
condition of Masonry — and they report a declaration 
of two hundred Masons in Vermont in 1829, and a 
declaration of twelve hundred Masons of Massachu- 
setts in 1831. 

Mr. Slade's essays upon the Masonic penalties 
were published in Vermont in 1830, a year after the 
appeal of the two hundred Masons. The charters 
of incorporation of the Masonic Lodges in Vermont 
were revoked by the legislature of that State in 
1831. An Antimasonic Governor and Council, and 
Antimasonic Electors of President and Vice-Presi- 
dent of the United States, were elected in 1831 and 
1832 — the last within one month before the meet- 
ing of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the 
United States. These were all significant indica- 


tions of the verdict passed by the people of Vermont 
upon the appeal of the two hundred Masons of 1829. 
But upon all these, the committee of the Grand 
Royal Arch Chapter of the United States observe a 
<^ dignified silence." Like the Rhode Island Grand 
Lodge, with regard to the kidnapping and murder 
of Morgan by Royal Arch Masons, ihey knew noth^ 
ing about it. 

The declaration of the twelve hundred Masons of 
Massachusetts was published in December, 1831. 
In September, 1832, less than three months before 
the meeting of the General Grand Royal Arch 
Chapter of the United States, a State Antimasonic 
Convention was held at Worcester, at which an ad- 
dress was adopted, containing a counter declaration 
to that of the twelve hundred. A committee of that 
Convention tendered to the Grand Lodge and Grand 
Chapter, an issue, upon thirty-eight specific allega- 
tions against the Masonic institution, to be tried, in 
any form best adapted to establish truth and expose 
imposition. And what was the answer of the twelve 
hundred Masons, who had made the declaration? 
*^ Dignified silence." What was the answer of the 
Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter of Massachusetts ? 
^< Dignified silence." And what the report of the 
committee of the General Royal Arch Chapter of 
the United States, on the [then] present condition 
of the Masonic institution ? '^ Dignified silence.^' 

183 j 

The twelve hundred Masons of Massachusetts, like 
the two hundred Masons of Vermont, make a state- 
ment of charges which thej can safely deny — as- 
sume them as the charges of the Antimasons against 
them, deny them, and then put themselves upon the 
country. When the Antimasons tender them a di- 
rect issue, upon specific charges, equally serious and 
explicit, the twelve hundred — the Grand Lodge — 
the Grand Chapter — all stand rnvtCj and the report 
of the committee of the General Grand Royal Arch 
Chapter of the United States, upon the present 
condition of the Masonic institution, goes back one, 
two and three years to tell of the declarations of 
Masons in Massachusetts and in Vermont. But as 
to any Antimasonic refutation of those declarations, 
the committee knew nothing about it. 

The report of the committee of the General Grand 
Royal Arch Chapter of the United States was there- ' 
fore an incorrect representation of the state of the 
Masonic institution, so far as concerned the States 
of Massachusetts and Vermont, nor was it more 
accurate in its reference to the state of Masonry in 
Rhode Island. 




duincy, 23 July, 183a 

Sir, — You have seen in my last letter, the state- 
ment made by the committee of the General Grand 
Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, at their 
meeting in November last, of the then present 
CONDITION of the Masonic institution, in the States 
of Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. You 
have seen that to exhibit this present condition of 
the craft, the report of the committed travelled 
backward in the race of time, one, two and three 
years, to the declarations of their own innocence, by 
certain Masons of those States — the exclamation of 
Macbeth to Banquo — " Thou canst not say I did it !^^ 
But that upon the more recent events — the revoca- 
tion of the Masonic charters in Vermont, the suc- 
cessive issues of the popular elections in that State, 
and the thirty-eight specific charges against Masonry 
tendered by the committee of the Antimasonic Con- 
vention at Worcester, to the presiding officers of the 
Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts and of 
the Grand Lodge ; upon all this, the committee of 
the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the 
United States observed a profound and ^^ dignified 
silence." And yet, sir, that issue of thirty-eight 
charges had been tendered on the 11th of Septem- 


ber, 1832 — nearly nine months after the declaration 
of the twelve hundred Masons of Massachusetts, and 
less than three months before the meeting of the 
General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United 
States at Baltimore. 

Now, sir, was not the presiding officer of the 
Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Massachu- 
setts, to whom this issue was tendered, the identi- 
cal chairman of the committee of the General Grand 
Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, which 
made this report on the then present condition of 
Masonry in the United States? And if he was, 
upon what principle admissible in a narrative of real- 
ities, could a report upon the present condition of 
Masonry in the United States, go back three years 
for declarations of Masonic innocence, and overlook 
or totally suppress the recent and actually present 
charges of Masonic guilt, which must have been yet 
sounding in the ears of the chairman of the General 
Grand Royal Arch Chapter who made the report ? 
Is not the chronology of Masonry as peculiar to it- 
self as its logic ? 

The committee upon the present condition of 
Masonry in the United States proceeded further to 
report, that from certain documents which had been 
for a long time before the public, it appeared that 
very different measures in relation to the subject had 
been adopted in the State of Rhode Island ; and so 


the committee reporting upon the present condition 
of the institution, chose to resort only to documents 
which had been a long time before the public. 
Thej say, 

That in Rhode Island, ^^ a memorial emanating 
from an Antimasonic Convention, held in December, 
1830, charging the Grand Lodge and other Masonic 
bodies with violations of the constitution and the 
laws of the land, was formally presented to the legis- 
lature of the State, and the Grand Lodge, in review- 
ing that memorial, challenged the strictest scrutiny, 
and offered the greatest facilities to an investigation 
of all their concerns ;" but that "it seems, however, 
that after the most laborious and patient investiga- 
tion of the subjects referred to in the memorial by 
an able and impartial committee, the lodges were 
Sustained by the legislature of the State, and were 
VIRTUALLY and triumphantly acquitted from all the 
charges which had been brought against them.'' 

And who would imagine that within two months 
after this representation of the present condition of 
Masonry in Rhode Island, the legislature of that 
State did, by unanimous assent in both houses, 
enact a law, prohibiting the administration of all ex- 
tra-judicial and of course of all Masonic oaths, upon 
no less penalties than a fine of one hundred dollars 
for the first offence, and political disfranchisement 
for the second ? This was the first result of that 


investigation, which the committee of the General 
Grand Royal Arch Chapter consider as having 
issued so triumphantly for the lodges and chapters 
of Rhode Island, 

They pronounce the investigating committee of 
the Rhode Island legislature ^^ able and impartial." 
Of their ability no question will be made ; but where 
did the reporter of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter 
of the United States find the evidence of their im- 
partiality ? Was it in the report of the majority, or 
in that of the minority of the investigating commit- 
tee ? Was it in the exclusion by the majority of the 
committee, of the very memcN-ialists who had brought 
the charges against Masonry before the legislature, 
from all participation in the investigation ? Was it 
in the bargain made by the chairman of the commit- 
tee with the Masonic dignitaries of the State, that 
if they would give their obligations, they should not 
be questioned about their secrets ? — a bargain made 
without the knowledge or consent of at least one 
member of the committee. A bargain to which the 
Masonic authorities held the committee of the legis- 
lature so strictly, that they repeatedly refused to 
answer questions most pertinent to the investigation, 
appealing to the chairman himself for the perform- 
ance of his promise, that they should not be required 
to disclose any of their secrets. Is that the impar- 
tiality of a legislative investigation of charges of 


crimination ? — first to exclude those who make the 
charges, from all participation in the process of in- 
quiry — and then to contract with the parties accused, 
that they shall be privileged to refuse answering upon 
every thing which they choose to keep secret. This 
was the course of proceeding of this impartial com- 

You are too well acquainted with the prevailing 
politics in the legislature of Rhode Island, at the 
time when this committee was appointed, not to 
know, that the main object of its appointment was 
to put down Antimasonry in Rhode Island. The 
resolution for appointing it was prepared by the 
chairman, but was offered by another member. In 
urging the passage of the resolution, both these per- 
sons indulged themselves in bitter invectives against 
the Antimasons, and the report of the majority of 
the committee carries upon every page the most 
conclusive internal evidence that the purpose for 
which the committee was raised, was to screen the 
Masonic institution and brotherhood from the inves- 
tigation which had been demanded by the Antima- 
sonic memorial, and to substitute in its place a 
colorable examination, upon which the Masons 
should answer just so much as should suit them- 
selves, and fall back upon their obligations of secrecy 
whenever they should think a disclosure adverse to 
their interests. 


The proceedings of the majority of the committee 
were conformable to the principles with which they 
entered upon the performance of the service assigned 
to them. The examination was so conducted that 
the Masonic witnesses answered just so far as they 
thought proper, and when a question was put, which 
from very shame they loathed to answer, they ap- 
pealed to their agreement with the chairman, and 
set the inquiry at defiance. 

The committee stated in their report that, aware 
of the scruples of the Masonic witnesses about dis- 
closing their Masonic secrets, which they had prom- 
ised not to disclose, they ^< resolved unanimously that 
they would require the Masons to communicate to 
them fully, their Masonic oaths or obligations, and 
to answer all questions which should be asked re- 
specting them — those obligations not being consid- 
ered as part of their secrets " — but " as to their 
signs, and tokens, and words, contrived to enable 
Masons, and none others, to enter lodges and to 
distinguish one another from those not Masons, a 
majority of the committee believed that the public 
would have no curiosity about them^ and that it 
would not be a profitable or creditable employment 
for the committee to endeavor to pry into them.^^ 

Admirable impartiality ! Unlawful and immoral 
secret rites and ceremonies, was the first and fore- 
most of all the charges against Masonry, from the 


sinking of their yictim in the waters of the Niagara 
river. The supreme legislative authority of the 
State are called upon to investigate the subject. 
They appoint a committee for that purpose. The 
committee, possessed of the vt^hole authority of the 
State to command testimony and elicit the whole 
truth — begin by excluding the accusers from all 
participation in the inquiry, and then bargain with 
the accused to ask no questions about their secrets, 
if they will but divulge what they themselves con- 
sider as no secret at all. 

I do not propose to follow" the majority of the 
committee through the mazes of their most extra- 
ordinary report. The report of Mr. Sprague, the 
member of the committee whose views differed 
from those of his colleagues, and the authentic 
report of their proceedings by Benjamin F. Hallett 
and George Turner, have shown in full relief the 
meaning of the word impartiality^ as exemplified by 
the committee and their chairman who drew up 
their report. And yet, so far was the committee 
entitled to the praise of impartiality, that they came 
unanimously to the conclusion that the insiituiion of 
Freemasonry ought to be abolished^ and the report 
concludes with an earnest and eloquent exhortation 
to the Masonic fraternity to abandon it. 

Is it not very remarkable that the report to the 
General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United 


States, upon the present condition of Masonry, 
which so highly approves this report of the Rhode 
Island investigating committee, takes not the slight- 
est notice of this their opinion and exhortation? 
The Grand Royal Arch report affirms that upon the 
report of the Rhode Island investigating committee, 
" the lodges were sustained by the legislature of 
the State.'' Sustained ! This " able and impar- 
tial " committee say, 

*^ It cannot be doubted that the lodges and chap- 
ters in that part of the State [of New York] had it 
fully in their power to have detected and brought to 
justice many of the criminals concerned in the ab- 
duction of Morgan, if not those concerned in his 
murder. And yet we do not find that they have 
expelled a single member, or made any manner of 
inquiry about them. Can it be denied that by 
such conduct those lodges and chapters have impli- 
cated themselves in the guilt of those transactions 
and made themselves responsible for it ? And not 
they alone are implicated. The higher Masonic 
authorities^ to whom they are subordinate and ac- 
countable, are equally implicated and responsible.^^ 

The higher authorities, to whom the chapters in 
that part of the State of New York are subordinate 
and accountable, are the Grand Chapter of the 
State, and the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter 
of the United States. Yes, sir, in this passage of 


the Rhode Island <^ able and impartial " investiga- 
ting committee's report, the very chapter of which 
you are the High Priest, the General Grand Royal 
Arch Chapter of the United States, is implicitly 
charged with being implicated and responsible for 
the guilt of the murder of Morgan. How comes it, 
sir, that the committee of the General Grand Royal 
Arch Chapter of the United States, reporting upon 
the present condition of Masonry, and expressly 
referring to this report of the investigating legisla- 
tive committee of Rhode Island, should have over- 
looked entirely this charge against the Grand Royal 
Arch Chapter of the United States itself? How 
dared that committee to affirm that, as the result of 
that investigation, the lodges were sustained by the 
legislature of the State ? The report of the Rhode 
Island investigating committee expressly charges the 
Grand Chapter of New York, and the General 
Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, 
with being implicated in and responsible for the 
murder of Morgan, and the atrocious transactions 
connected with it, and the report of the General 
Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, 
calls this a triumphant acquittal of the lodges of 
Rhode Island. 

Permit me, sir, to present to your consideration 
two more extracts, from the same report of the major- 
ity of the Rhode Island investigating committee : — 


" The old forms of the oaths, which are still ad- 
hered to, are extremely improper. It is true that 
the construction which the Masons put upon them 
in this State [Rhode Island] renders them harmless, 
but that is by no means the natural construction of 
the language itself. The oaths taken by them- 
selves, without being corrected and controlled by 
the addresses and charges, are, according to the 
terms of them, clearly crirainaL And can it be 
proper to take obligations, the different parts of 
which are in direct collision with and contradiction 
to each other, and yet the whole to be sworn to ? 

" But it is an insurmountable objection to those 
oaths, that they are liable to a construction which 
renders them in the highest degree criminal and 
dangerous ; and that such a construction has actu- 
ally been put upon them by Masons, and has been 
productive of the most dreadful consequences.'' 

The following is the concluding sentence of the 
report : — 

" This committee cannot but come to the con- 
clusion that the Masons owe it to the community, to 
themselves, and to sound principles, now to discon* 
tinue the Masonic institutions." 

To what a desperate extremity must the commit- 
tee of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of 
the United States have been reduced for matter to 
report upon the present condition of Masonry, when 



they were willing to accept and represent this as a 
triumphant acquittal of the Rhode Island lodges and 
chapters ! 

Yet this was the report of a committee so partial 
to the Masonic fraternity, that, invested with the 
entire legislative power to investigate their institu- 
tion, they did in fact abdicate their legitimate rights 
and powers, by a bargain with the Masons, to screen 
them from the exposure of their most odious cere- 
monies. They accepted and countenanced a fraud- 
ulent explanation, and pretended construction of the 
penalties of the Masonic oaths. Fraudulent, as 
every Master Mason must know, who at his recep- 
tion is told that the penalties are, and have been 
from the building of Solomon's Temple, the same 
penalties which were executed upon the murderers 
of Hiram Abiff. 

The allegation by the Rhode Island committee, 
that they considered it an unprofitable employment 
to be prying into Masonic secrets, would be more 
plausible, if those secrets consisted only of the 
<* signs, and tokens, and words, contrived to enable 
Masons, and none others, to enter lodges, and to 
distinguish one another from those not Masons ; " — 
but how is the fact ? The tokens and passwords 
are, to be sure, of the character described by Sir 
Toby Belch, in Shakspeare's Twelfth Night, " most 
excellent, sense-/e55.'' But the signs are explana- 


tory of the true meaning of the penalties, and when 
the committee compelled the Masons to give the 
words of their obligations, was it not an incongruous 
scruple of delicacy, to draw the veil over the coinci- 
dent signs which give to those words their most 
energetic significancy ? 

Under the exceedingly accommodating indulgence 
of the investigating committee, the Knights Tem- 
plars of Rhode Island were permitted to skulk from 
all testimony relating to the fifth libation, denomi- 
nated in Masonic language the sealed obligation. 
How the committee, consistently with their own 
rule, could release the witnesses from testifying to 
that pious solemnity, it is not easy to see. The 
oath of the Knight Templar has, like the rest, a 
penalty, which is, having the swearer's skull smitten 
off and suspended to " rest high on spires," as the 
Masonic minstrels deliciously sing; and that oath 
and penalty the Rhode Island Knights did give ac- 
cording to contract with the committee. But the 
fifth libation is an obligation of higher order. The 
temporal penalties of cruel death, and barbarous 
mutilation, are not sufficient to bind the conscience 
of the Knight Templar. In the fifth libation, he 
invokes eternal punishment upon his immortal soul. 
He calls upon God, his Creator, to visit upon him at 
the judgment day, not only his own sins, but all the 
sins of his fellow-mortal man, from whose skull he 
quaffs the cup of abomination and of mystery. 


The most remarkable scene in the investigation 
of the Rhode Island committee, was that in which 
William Wilkinson, a Knight Templar, and a man 
of most respectable character, was examined with 
reference to this sealed obligation, the fifth libation. 
The words always uttered before drinking the wine 
from the skull, were read to him from Allyn's Ritual, 
page 250, and he was asked whether they were ad- 
ministered to him on taking the Knight Templar's 
obligation. He answered, " These words made no 
part of the obligation which was administered to 
me on taking the Knight Templar's degree." 

From this answer an unlearned and uninitiated 
person would naturally conclude that these words 
form no part of the ceremony of initiation to the 
Knight Templar's degree, and it is from denials of 
precisely the same character as this, that the great 
mass of adhering Masons, ministers of the holy gos- 
pel included, have labored to blast the credit of 
AUyn's and Bernard's books ; but Mr. Wilkinson's 
denial hinged upon the word obligation only. There 
is, as I have remarked, another obligation adminis- 
tered to the Knight Templar, on taking his degree, 
and that obligation was among those furnished to 
the committee. That was the obligation which Mr. 
Wilkinson had in his mental contemplation, when he 
denied that the words of the sealed obligation were 
part of THE obligation administered to him. Had 


the examination rested there, well might the com- 
mittee of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the 
United States have boasted of the triumphant ac- 
quittal of the Rhode Island Masons. But here the 
examination did not rest. Mr. Wilkinson was asked 
whether these said words were used in any ceremo- 
ny of initiation to the Knight Templar's degree ? 
His answer was, " In regard to the secrets or cere- 
monies of this, or any other degrees in Masonry, I 
neither affirm or deny any thing." Upon this there 
was some altercation between the witness and the 
chairman of the committee, who very justly consid- 
ered this as an obligation which the Masons were 
bound to give, but instead of exercising the authori- 
ty vested in the committee by the legislature, and 
exacting an answer, he argued with the witness to 
persuade him to answer, and finished by submitting 
to his refusal. This was indeed the triumph of 
Masonry ; not the triumph of acquitted innocence, 
but the triumph of sturdy contumacy, setting at de- 
fiance the legislative authority of the State. 

That Mr. Wilkinson should be ashamed to ac- 
knowledge that he had ever pronounced, with an 
appeal to God, such words as those, and accompa- 
nied them with such an action, is creditable to his 
sense of discrimination between right and wrong. 
The sealed obligation is not one of those signs, 
grips, tokens or pass-words, by which the Masonic 


fraternity discern the genuine from the spurious im- 
postor. It is one of the obligations of the craft, 
which the committee had determined to require, and 
which the Rhode Island Masons were bound by the 
terms of their agreement with the chairman of the 
committee to give. The fifth libation, therefore — 
the potation from the skull of " Old Simon," and 
the invocation of all the sins, heinous and deadly as 
they may be, of another man, upon the head of the 
self-devoted Knight Templar, are yet, so far as 
adhering Masonic acknowledgment is concerned, 
'^undivulged crimes — unwhipped of justice." Mr. 
Wilkinson did not venture to deny that the words 
of the sealed obligation were precisely those record- 
ed in Allyn's Ritual — he neither affirmed nor 
denied. The full, adhering Masonic authentication 
of the sealed obligation, is reserved for the investi- 
gation of a committee more resolute and less com- 
promising with the transcendent sovereignty of 
Freemasonry than the Rhode Island committee was 
found to be. A more searching investigation of the 
laws of the Masonic empire will be required to 
discover, in all its loveliness^ that feature of its code. 
In the Rhode Island investigations another witness, 
a minister of the gospel, upon being asked if be 
had drank wine from a human skull, answered, — 
^* I do not know that it can affect the interests of 
any one whether I drank wine out of a skull, a tin 


cup, or a basio." A third witness declined answer- 
ing the question. 

In the 251st page of Allyn's Ritual — the very 
next page after that which discloses the formula 
used in drinking the fifth libation, there is the fol- 
lowing note : — 

" The sealed obligation is referred to by Tem- 
plars, in confidential communications relative to 
matters of vast importance, when other Masonic 
obligations seem insufficient to secure secrecy, 
silence and safety. Such for instance was the 
murder of William Morgan, which was communi- 
cated from one Templar to another, under the 
pledge and upon this sealed obligation. The at- 
tentive ear receives the sound from the instructive 
tongue ; and the mysteries of Freemasonry were 
safely lodged in the repository of faithful breasts— 
until it was communicated in St. John's Hall, New 
York, in an encampment of Knights Templars, 
March 10, 1828." 

To this fact, Mr. Allyn made oath before a mag- 
istrate in the city of New York, and that it was so 
communicated to him at an encampment of Knights 
Templars. Of the pains that have been taken to 
discredit Allyn's testimony, it is not necessary for 
me to speak ; but in the twenty-second of CoL 
Stone's Letters, page 238, there is a frank and full 
acknowledgment by him, himself a Knight Tern- 


plar, that after having long totally disbelieved the 
statement, he did finally satisfy himself that it was 
substantially true. 

With the thoughts that crowd upon me in recur- 
ring to this proof of the power and practices of 
Masonry, I witl not now trouble you or the public. 
The legislature of Rhode Island, after such an 
investigation even as this, prohibited the administra- 
tion of all extra-judicial oaths. How their commit- 
tee could submit to the suppression of Masonic 
testimony to the sealed obligation is not easily 
explained. But the agonies of the Knights Tem- 
plars at the very call upon them to testify to the 
sealed obligation, are eloquent commentaries upon 
the note in the 251st page of Allyn's Ritual, and 
upon the candid acknowledgment in Col. Stone's 
twenty-second Letter. 

And so, sir, the murder of William Morgan was, 
by one of its perpetrators, regularly communicated 
to an encampment of Knights Templars in the city 
of New York, in March, 1828, and those Knights 
Templars (Col. Stone, who certifies to the fact, 
knows not who they are — he thinks them unworthy, 
but in the vocabulary of the handmaid they are 
worthy Masons) assisted this murderer, and fur- 
nished him with the means of escaping from the 
retribution of public justice and the laws of the 


And yet, this was entirely conformable to the 
laws of Masonry. It interfered in no respect with 
the religion or politics of any one Knight Templar 
of the encampment ! It was a memorable exempli- 
fication of the promise to assist a worthy brother in 
extricating him from difficulty, whether he is right 
or wrong. It was most sincerely explanatory of the 
obligation to conceal the secrets of a worthy brother, 
murder and treason not excepted, or excepted at the 
option of the Sir Knight himself — and it did not even 
exact of the illustrious brotherhood that they should 
go barefoot to apprize this " western sufferer " of 
the danger with which he was threatened ; and 
these transactions all occurred before the revelation 
of the obligations of the higher degrees of Masonry 
by the Le Roy convention of seceders, on the 4th July, 
1828. Of these facts, thus notorious, thus abomina- 
ble, thus undeniable, why have the legislature, why 
has the executive of the State of New York, why have 
the grand juries of the city, never been informed ? 
Why have the General Grand Encampment of the 
United States observed upon these acts of men under 
their jurisdiction, a dignified silence ? Why, but be- 
cause they have resolved to adhere, and have recom- 
mended to the brotherhood under their jurisdiction to 
adhere, to the ancient landmarks of the institution ? 

Mr. Livingston, I shall here close the series of 
letters which I have addressed to you as the head 



and most conspicuous member of the Masonic fra- 
ternity in these United States — holding at the same 
time offices of high dignity, power and influence in 
the government of the Union. The General Grand 
Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, of which 
you are the Grlind High Priest, did, at their triennial 
meeting at Baltimore last November, highly commend 
certain chapters and lodges which had changed, 
most essentially changed, their own nature, by sub- 
stituting the study of the useful arts and sciences, for 
the miserable fooleries of their pageantry, and did 
earnestly recommend to all the chapters under their 
jurisdiction, the same excellent reformation and 
transformation. It was that recommendation which 
suggested to me the idea of calling upon you to ac- 
complish a revolution still more useful and commend- 
able — the abolition of all the execrable oaths, obliga- 
tions and penalties, which, until they shall be utterly 
abolished, are, and must be, an indelible disgrace 
to the institution. If you have power to convert 
your lodges into lyceums and your chapters and en- 
campments into schools of science, you cannot lack 
the power of redeeming the institution from the 
infamy of lawless oaths, of barbarous obligations, of 
brutal penalties — with that infamy your institution 
is now polluted, as it is with the blood of William 
Morgan, nor can the " labor '' or " refreshment ^' of 
all the Royal Arch Chapters on the globe wash it 


It IS in your power, sir, to remove this stumbling- 
block and this foolishness from the institution over 
which you preside, forever. Look to the seventh 
chapter of the First Book of Kings, and you will find 
that Hiram of Tjnre, the widow's son, who worked alt 
the building of the Temple of Solomon, was not a 
Mason — but " cunning to work all works in brass.** 
Whether this fitted him the better for the selection 
of the first contrivers of your order, as the founder 
of the craft, is a problem for your learned and es- 
pecially for your clerical antiquarians to solve ; but 
the fact that he was a workman in brass^' and that 
the two pillars in the porch of the temple, Jachin 
and Boaz, were not works of Masonry, but of brass j 
stamps with gross imposture the whole history of the 
institution. In like manner every pretension of the 
order to historical connection with any portion of the 
Holy Scriptures, is imposture, and must be known 
so to be to every intelligent minister of the gospel, 
who takes upon himself your obligations. 

The existence of such an order is a foul blot upon 
the morals of a community. The strength, the 
glory, the happiness of a nation are all centred in 
the purity of its morals ; and institutions founded 
upon imposture, are the worst of all corruptions, for 
they poison the public morals at their fountains, and 
by multiplying the accomplices in guilt, arm them 
with the confidence of virtue* 


Whether your dignity as the head of the Royal 
Arch of this Union, is to cease upon your departure 
from this country, or to continue during your ab- 
sence, has not yet been announced to the world ; 
but in either event, be assured that neither your 
Masonic addresses, nor the proceedings of the Gen- 
eral Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, 
will henceforth pass without observation into ob- 


SAMUEL N. SWEET and AMOS BLISS, Committee of the 
Antimasomc State Convention, held at Montpelier, in the State of 
Vennont, on the 2Gth of June, 1833. 

Qaincy, 17 July, 1833. 

Fellow Citizens, — I have received, with great 
satisfaction, your letter of the 27th ult., and with 
warm sensibility the resolutions which you have 
communicated to me of the Antimasonic Convention, 
held at Montpelier the preceding day. 

The entire character of the institution of Freema- 
sonry has not yet been displayed to the inspection 
of mankind. That it is essentially vicious and 
grossly irrational, has been demonstrated beyond all 
possibility of reply ; but the extent and degree to 


which it vitiates the morals, and prostrates the in- 
tellect of its votaries, has not yet been wholly dis- 
closed. It is among the most ordinary symptoms of 
mental insanity that the faculty of reason is sound 
and vigorous upon every subject on which it is 
exercised save one, and at the same time irrecover- 
ably distempered on that one. There are similar 
aberrations of moral principle in the conduct and 
character of individuals, and it has often been re- 
marked that corporate bodies of men are capable of 
committing, without a blush, acts from which every 
individual of the association would shrink with in- 
stinctive horror. 

The institution of Freemasonry is founded upon 
historical imposture ; and can a Christian remark it 
without disgust, upon imposture foisted upon sacred 
history ? — upon imposture falsifying the most awful 
truths of the gospel ? — upon imposture contaminating 
with unhallowed step the holy of holies itself ? 

The fable upon which the first three degrees of 
Masonry is founded, carries absurdity and falsehood 
upon its face. There are fraud and duplicity in the 
oaths and obligations into which the candidates for 
initiation are unwarily drawn. They are first made 
to invoke upon themselves the penalties of death and 
brutal mutilation if they should reveal the senseless 
secrets to be imparted to them, and then they are 
told a tale of three Fellow Crafts who like them 


had invoked these penalties upon themselves, and 
upon whom the penalties had been executed — not 
for revealing the secrets which they had been sworn 
to keep, but for murdering the first Grand Master in 
the attempt to extort one of the secrets from him. 
Ministers of the word of God have the oaths, invok* 
ing these penalties upon themselves, administered 
to them gratuitously and take them for nothing, 
while other poor blind candidates are laid under 
tribute for the privilege of burdening their con- 
sciences with the same loads. After taking them, 
they are told that these have been the standing 
penalties for violation of the oaths of secrecy which 
they have taken, ever since ihey were executed upon 
the murderers of the first Grand Master. This first 
Grand Master of Masonry, they are told, was Hiram 
of Tyre, whom the Holy Scriptures d^JchTe to have 
been a workman in brass; and they are assured 
that he was murdered by three Tyrians with Roman 
names three hundred years before Rome existed. 

In this tortuous and fraudulent process of admin- 
istering the oath^, and then delivering a lecture upon 
their pretended origin, some apology may be found 
for the hundreds of Masons in your State and in 
others, who have so stoutly maintained, in the face 
of their fellow-citizens, that they never had taken 
any oaths incompatible with their duties to God and 
their country. To this process may be traced the 


utterly groundless explanation by which they have 
confounded treachery with martyrdom, and con- 
strued the penalty of death /or revealing secrets into 
a sufferance of murder, rather than reveal the secrets. 
The terms of the oaths are plain, explicit and une- 
quivocal. The promise is to suffer death as a pen- 
alty, if the swearer reveals the secrets of Masonry, i^ 
or of Masons. And he is to suffer the death self- 
invoked, as the Tyrian Fellow Crafts, with Roman 
names, did suffer death for violation of Masonic law. 
The Tyro-Romans indeed had invoked these penal- 
ties upon themselves, after committing murder as 
well as a breach of Masonic law, and Hiram, the 
brazier, Grand Master of Masons, had suffered death 
rather than reveal out of time and place the Master's 
word. Here is a confusion of ideas sufficiently indic- 
ative of fraud ; and as the administration of t he oa ths 
i^ always oral, and the very writing or printing them 
was among the promises of the candidates never to 
do, it is jiot surprising that thousands of Masons 
should have lake!r~ttrem,' not only wMout under- 
standing what they were swearing to, but actually 
believing that their promise was to die like Hiram, 
the victims of fidelity, and not, like his murderers, to 
pay the penalties of treachery. 

^-^n the promises themselves, however, there is 
) nothing ambiguous or ecjuivocal. They positively 

Srontract the engagement to suffer the penalties of 


death and bodily mutilation, for any one violation of 
the oaths which the candidate pronounces. The 
death which a merciful man would not inflict upon a 
dog, the Masonic candidate for lights swears he will 
suffer as di penalty^ if he should pronounce the words 
Tubal-Cain, Shibboleth or Mah-hah-bone out of time 
and place. Nay, if like the abbess of Andouillets 
and the nun in Tristram Shandy, they presume to 
halve between them the obnoxious words, to pre- 
serve the potency of the spell, without infringing the 
laws of decorum — not even the syllables Ja — and 
Chin, or Bo — and Az, can be halved between two 
Masons, and publicly pronounced out of the lodge, 
but upon the penalty of having both their throats 
cut across from ear to ear. And this, and the like 
of this, are the ancient landmarks, which the Grand 
Royal Arch Chapter of the United States have ear- 
nestly exhorted the chapters and lodges under their 
jurisdiction inflexibly to maintain, 
-s Among the evidences of the true spirit and char- 
acter of Freemasonry, which are daily disclosing 
\ themselves to the world, is this fanatical attachment 
I and devotion to these ancient landmarks, which 
' might be more properly denominated these incurable 
vices of the institution. To these vices how. em- 
phatically may be applied the remark of the moral 
poet, upon the propensity of human nature, to pass 
from detestation of vice first seen, to the endur- 



ance and tbence to the embrace of vice familiarized 
to the eye ! If any one legislature of this Union 
should enact a law, subjecting a citizen of these 
States, for the most atrocious crime that the heart of 
man could conceive or the arm of man could perpe- 
trate, to any one of the Masonic penalties, one uni- 
versal burst of indignation and abhorrence from the 
Atlantic to the Rocky mountains w^ould redeem the 
character of the American people from the disgrace 
inflicted upon it by such a legislative enactment. I 
hesitate not to declare the belief that not a jury 
could be assembled in this Union to convict, not a 
judge could be found to pass sentence upon, a man 
subjected to such a punishment by the sovereign 
legislatures of the land. And yet one of these pen- 
alties has been inflicted on a free citizen of this 
Union — inflicted by the execution to the letter, of 
the secret, irresponsible, disavowed, and transcen- 
dental law of Freemasonry. It has been executed 
by Royal Arch Masons — executed by the band of 
midnight and yet unpunished murder. The fact of 
this murder has been communicated by one of its 
perpetrators to an encampment of Knights Templars 
in the city of New York, and those Knights Tem- 
plars, under the seal of the fifth libation, instead of 
delivering up the criminal to the lawful justice of 
their country, did, in strict conformity to their Ma- 
sonic obligations, screen him from the punishment 


due to his crime, and furnish him with the means of 
escaping from that punishment forever. 

It is therefore, gentlemen, with unmingled satis- 
faction, that I receive the assurance from you, that 
the Antimasons of Vermont have determined to 
persevere^ in the righteous cause in which they have 
engaged — namely, that of breaking down the an- 
cient landmarks of Freemasonry — landmarks which 
are the standing monuments of usurpation and crime* 
And whatever may be for years to come the fortunes 
of your cause, perseverance alone is the infallible 
pledge oi your final success. We must not flatter 
ourselves that a moral evil so deeply rooted and of 
such gigantic dimensions can or will be eradicated 
in a short time, or by intermitted exertions. We 
see the Masonic institution, covered with all its 
enormities, upheld, by clinging to both the great 
political parties which divide the nation. We see 
the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, 
taking into consideration the condition of Masonry 
in the State of Vermont, and pouring forth floods of 
slander upon you and your associates, assertors of 
the supremacy of the laws. But you and your 
accusers are, in the presence of the American peo- 
ple, alike amenable to the definitive tribunal of pub- 
lic opinion. That opinion will ultimately settle into 
a clear, simple, undeniable moral principle. The 
code of ^^ Moloch homicide," embodied in the laws 


of Freemasonry, will pass to its appropriate region 
in Pandemonium, and one of the sources of error 
and guilt prevailing in our land will be exhausted 
and forever drained. For my feeble contributions 
to effect this happy consummation, your approving 
voice is to me a precious reward. As a fellow- 
laborer with you for the extinction of the brutal 
penalties of Freemasonry, my voice, so long as it 
has power to speak, shall not be silent to an honest 
call, and when silenced, as it soon must be, by a 
summons to another world, my testimony of abhor- 
rence to those penalties shall descend as an inher- 
itance to my children and to my country. 

Accept^ gentlemen, for yourselves, and for the 
convention, whose resolutions you have communica- 
ted to me, the respect and the thanks of your friend 
and feUow-citizen, 


TO JAMES MOOREHEAD, ESQ,, Secretary of the MeadviUe 
(Penn.) Antimasonic ConventioiL 

Washington, 14 December, 1833. 

Sir, — Your letter of the 30th of August last, 
communicating to me a copy of the resolution of 
thanks, from the Convention held at Meadville 
on the 28th of that month, to my respected friend 


Mr. Rush and mjself, for our services to the cause of 
pure morals, against the institution of Freemasonry, 
was received at my residence in Massachusetts, at a 
time when I was absent from it. Circumstances 
occurred immediately after my return, inducing me 
to believe that there might be a propriety in defer- 
ring for some time the acknowledgment of the 
receipt of your letter, and the expression of my 
grateful sensibility to the approbation of the Con- 
vention declared by their resolution, coupled as it 
was with a cheering exhortation to perseverance in 
the cause. 

Believing that perseverance — unremitted, undevi- 
ating perseverance — is the only and the indispensa- 
ble requisite, for securing the final, the complete and 
most desirable triumph of the cause of Antimasonry, 
I trust that so long as the faculty of reason, and the 
sense of justice, shall be extended to me by the in- 
dulgence of my Maker, I shall be found neither 
indifferent nor recreant to the cause. That cause I 
understand to be the abolition of the oaths, obliga- 
tions and penalties administered and taken for ad- 
mission to the general degrees of Freemasonry — 
obscurely indicated by the mandate of the General 
Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States, 
held at Baltimore in November, 1832, to the chap- 
ters and lodges under their jurisdiction ; indicated 
with an injunction of adherence to them, under the 


denomination of the Ancient Landmarks of the 

The total demolition of these ancient landmarks 
I take to embrace the whole cause of Antimasonry 
— and for the obvious reason, that they are en- 
croachments upon the common rights, and invasions 
of the common interests of the rest of mankind — 
that they are impious, if not blasphemous invocations 
of the name of God — that they are fraudulent pal- 
terings with a double sense, saying one thing and 
intending another — that they are brutalities of 
thought and language, shameful to be uttered by the 
lips of Christian men, and other objections to them 
of no trifling consideration to those who believe that 
the first inroads of corruption, consist in familiarizing 
the mind to vicious thoughts, and the mouth to pol- 
luted words : But it is the common rights and com- 
mon interests of mankind, that are invaded by the 
ancient landmarks of Freemasonry; and it is the 
common interest of all, that they should be, as public 
nuisances, abated. 

And that they will be abated, depends upon per- 
severance alone. As sure as the daily revolution of 
the earth shall bring the source of light to ascend 
from the east, so surely shall perseverance sweep 
from the face of the earth, as common nuisances, 
the ancient landmarks of Freemasonry. Nor is it 
necessary to this result, that what is commonly 


called political Antimasonm should be always, or 
even geuerally successful. (^Political Antimasonry is 
but one of the modes, though hitherto undoubtedly 
the most efficacious one, of combating the Masonic 
institution. It is one of the exceptions to this 
mode of operation, that it necessarily manifests 
Itself in the form of opposition to persons, and in 
the shape of punishment. It enlists therefore 
against itself, not only the whole body of Masonic 
influence, but all the sympathies of friendship, and 
all the weight of individual character and meritori- 
ous service. Its success th.en must and will be 
variable — fluctuating with the vicissitudes of tran- 
sient popular opinion, and susceptible sometimes by 
its failure of retarding, as at others by success it 
may advance, the consummation devoutly to be 
wished. But I trust it may be considered by Anti- 
masons as only one of their weapons against the 
common enemy — used with reluctance, and to be 
laid aside whenever^Masonry herself shall be ban- 
ished from the polls.y 

At the same time I fervently hope that the 
Antimasons of the free States of this Union will 
not be satisfied with the mere cessation of the 
meetings of Lodges, Chapters and Encampments ; 
\ nor become indifferent to the cause, even when 
justice shall require of them to discard the question 
from the field of election. There is no question 


but that the Masonic oaths are all unlawful. But 
as in most of the States there is no specific penalty 
annexed to the administration of extra-judicial 
oaths, the law itself is outraged by it with impunity. 
In the States jof Rh ode . Island, and Vermont, stat- 
utes have recently been enacted, annexing adequate 
penalties to the administration of extra-jud icial 
oaths ; so that in those States Masonry will no 
longer have the subterfuge to plead that her oaths 
are not unlawful, because they are null and void. 
If I am to credit the newspapers, there has been a 
decision amounting to this, even by magistrates 
upon the bench in your State of Pennsylvania. 
Those magistrates, it is stated, were, all but one, 
themselves Masons ; and if I understand the writ- 
ten opinion, reported as having been given by them, 
it was that without deciding whether the Masonic 
oaths were not lawful, they held them to be volun- 
tary promises, which could have no operation con- 
trary to law, and therefore that a man who had 
taken those oaths was quite competent to be an 
impartial juror between Mason and Anti mason. 
Now, although there is much ingenuity in this argu- 
ment, and in the conclusion drawn from it, there is 
another conclusion to which it may lead other minds 
unilluminated with the floods of light which pour 
upon the pilgrim of the lodge room. If there were 
specific penalties annexed to the administration of 


all extra-judicial oaths. Masonic judges would be 
relieved from all judicial non-committal, whether 
the Masonic oaths are lawful or not, and it would 
require one step further of Masonic co-operation on 
the Bench, to decide that a man bound by unlawful 
oaths, exclusively to favor one of the parties to a 
suit of law, is a very impartial juror between those 
parties, because the oaths he has taken, exclusively 
to favor one of them, are unlawful. 

Sir, I wish the members of the Convention who 
did me the honor to pass the Resolution which you 
have communicated to me, to accept my thanks, 
\ and a hearty reciprocation with them of the Anti- 
masonic pass-word, '* Persevere," It is the un- 
conquerable spirit of all energetic Virtue — the 
impregnable fortress, founded upon the Rock of 


I am, with great respect, 

Your friend and fellow citizen, 




Quincy, 27 October, 1835. 

Dear Sir, — I have received your letter of the 
19tb instant, with the Star and Republican Banner 
of the same date. Amidst the vicissitudes of alter- 
nate success and defeat, which in a very remarkable 
manner have attended the cause of political Anti- 
maspnry, I have witnessed, with warm feelings of 
sympathy and of admiration, the Perseverance with 
which it has been pursued in Pennsylvania, through 
good and evil fortune, to its signal triumph at this 
time, in the election of Mr. Ritner as Governor of 
the Commonwealth, and if I am to credit the public 
journals, of a decided majority of avowed Anti- 
masons to the Legislature. 

Hitherto, the Antimasons of Pennsylvania, though 
armed with a principle as pure as any that ever 
animated the heart of man ; though struggling 
against an Institution foul with midnight murder, 
perpetrated in strict conformity to soul-ensnaring 
oaths and obligations, have yet been a feeble and 
persecuted minority — persecuted for uttering the 
cry of indignation at a series of atrocious violations 
of the laws of God and man — persecuted, for nfum- 
moning the energies of virtue in the hearts of their 



fellow-citizens, to extinguish a secret and lawless 
conspiracy in the heart of the community against 
the equal rights of their fellow-men. 

I trust the days of this persecution are past in 
Pennsylvania — that the Government of that Com- 
mon weahh, by the will of a decisive majority of its 
people, will be in the hands of Antimasons, and 
that by the wisdom and moderation of their meas- 
ures, they will redeem the State from the pollution 
of Masonic morals, and restore in triumph the 
supremacy of the laws. 

I am, with great respect. Dear Sir, 

Your obedient servants 




Iir the autumn of the year 1833, Mr. Adams was unanimously nomi- 
nated at a large Convention of members of the Antimasonic party, a 
candidate for the office of Governor of Massachusetts. The call thus 
made upon him, he did not feel at liberty to decline. The result was 
a triangular contest at the election, between the three political parties 
into which the people were divided, and the failure of a choice of 
Governor by the requisite majority. According to the provisions of 
the Constitution of Massachusetts, the election then devolved upon 
the Legislature about to meet in January, 1834. But no sooner was 
Mr. Adams made aware of the state of the popular vote, than he 
determined to decline to be further considered a candidate for the 
post The reasons for his course as well in accepting at first as in 
withdrawing afterwards, he decided to submit in an Address to the 
people of the Commonwealth, which he caused to be published at tlie 
flame time that he notified his decision in a letter directed to the 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, at the opening of the ses- 
sion. The following is the Address. 


Fellow Citizens : — For the first time within 
nearly half a century, you have been so far unable 
to agree upon the person to whom the office of 
serving you in the capacity of your Chief Magistrate, 
should be committed for the ensuing year, that no 
one of the candidates presented by previous nomina- 


tions to your favor has obtained a majority of your 
suffrages^ and the case has occurred, in which, by 
the provisions of the Constitution, your House of 
Representatives will be called to present to your 
Senate two of the four citizens, having the highest 
number of your votes, and of these two, the Senate 
will be charged with selecting one, as the Governor 
of the State. 

Of the four candidates, having the highest num- 
ber of votes, my name stands the second, and 
supposing it from that circumstance probable, that 
it might be one of the two offered by the House of 
Representatives for the choice of the Senate, I have 
deemed it my duty to withdraw from the Canvass, 
and to request the members of the House of Rep- 
resentatives to withhold their votes from me, with 
the assurance of my determination, founded on the 
sense of my own duties, not to accept the appoint- 
ment, should it be conferred upon me. 

I have not thought it necessary or proper to 
'^assign to the Legislature the reasons which have 
brought me to this determination. For the exercise 
of their functions it was only necessary that they 
should know the fact, and it would have been an 
unwarrantable consumption of their time, which is 
your property, to lay before them an exposition of 
motives, upon the correctness of which it would 
not be their province to decide, and which would 


neither require nor admit of any deliberative action 
appropriate to them. 

This exposition of motives is, however, peculiarly 
due to that portion of my fellow-citizens, who hon- 
ored me by their nomination, and whose nomination 
I accepted. It is al so due to you all ; all having 
an interest in the issue of the election; and \aTl_ 
being entitled to know, wherefore I have felt it 
justifiable to interpose between the provision of the 
Constitution prescribed for the contingency which 
has occurred, and its absolute execution. 

In accepting the nomination of the Antimasonic 
Convention at Boston, I was aware of the dissen- 
sions which agitated the Commonwealth, and which 
I had witnessed with deep concern. I knew that 
the Anti masons as a party constituted a minority ^ 
of the people of the Commonwealth. That they^ 
were for the most part a detachment from that ^^ 
portion of the people, who, in recent times had 
been denominated National Republicans, and who 
under that denomination had embraced at least 
three-fourths of the people of the State. That 
their views of general policy, both with regard to 
the administration of the General Government, and 
to that of the Commonwealth, still coincided with 
those of that party, and I believed it an object of 
the highest importance to your welfare, and most 
especially with reference to your interest and influ- 


ence in the affairs of the Union, that this breach 
should be repaired, and this discord restored to 
harmony. (^ The Masonic controversy was the only 
point upon which the two divisions of the party 
were separated, but that separation I feared was 
irreconcileable. The party in opposition to the 
State Government, and friendly to the present 
federal administration, was necessarily Masonic, by 
adherence to their chief; himself illustrious with 
Masonic acquirements and dignitiesy The National 
Republicans were Masonic, by the declared adher- 
ence of their Chief to the same institution of which 
he was a distinguished member, and indications 
were not wanting that all the differences of princi- 
ple between those two parties, ardent and bitter as 
they were, would be swallowed up, in the transcen- 
dent common interest of Freemasonry. So it had 
emphatically proved in the State of Vermont^ and 
such was, in my apprehension, likely to be the issue 
in Massachusetts. It was with extreme reluctance 
that I consented to be placed within the wind of 
this commotion, for I saw that it would bring me in 
collision with the party then still wielding the power 

! of the State, and with whose general principles and 

. policy my own were in full accord. 
^ I had recently been re-elected, by the co-opera- 
tion of that party, in the Congressional district 
where I reside, to a seat in the House of Represen- 


tatives of the United States. I had previously 
been nominated by a Convention of the members 
of that party, as well as by an Antimasonic, and ^^ 
also a Republican Convention, to represent the 
District of Plymouth in the last Congress. At the 
expiration of that term of service, I was again 
nominated by an Antimasonic, and also by a Nation- . 
al Republican Convention, to represent the District 
as newly constituted in the Congress now assem- 
bled. Those nominations were both accompanied 
with Resolutions, approving in the strongest and 
most gratifying terms, the manner in which I had 
executed the trust of representing Plymouth Dis- 
trict; and although the District, as newly organized, 
was but partly the same with that which I had 
before represented, I was re-elected by a majority 
equally decisive with that of my previous elec- 

I had freely avowed my opinions of Masonry and 
Antimasonry, when the people of the District 
selected me to represent them in Congress. They 
were not the opinions of a majority of the people 
whona I was to represent, and they were sustained 
by a very small, though highly respectable minority 
of the people of the Commonwealth. They were^ 
unpopular opinions, and therefore not the ground to \ 
be occupied by persons aspiring to popularity, or to ! 
its rewards. 


The Legislator of the most illustrious Democracy 
of ancient times, Solon, made it a crime, punishable 
ith death, for any citizen to shrink from taking 
/his side upon any great political question, which 
agitated and divided the people. Without approving 
\ the severity of this law, I consider the principle of 
(_its obligation as the vital spirit of Republicanism, 
/^lle publica n government is essentially the govern- 
\ ment of public opinion, and it is good or bad gov- 
I ernment, in proportion as public opinion is right or 
Lwrong. Public_fipinion is the aggregate of individ* 
ual opinions, and the Constitution, which secures to 
the citizen the right^o£_50/in^, make s it his duty 
to form opinions by which the exercise of that right 
shairbe governed. Every vote is an opinion mani- 
fested by free action, and whoever votes contrary to 
his opinion, or shrinks from the avowal of the 
/ opinion upon which he votes, is actuated by no 
Republican spirit, /in forming his political opinions * 
every citizen must be governed by his own honest 
judgment, enlightened by consultation with others, 
and by such measure of information as he can obtain^v 
But as this measure of information must necessa- 
rily be possessed by different persons in different 
degrees, the opinions of every individual must, in 
great multitudes of cases, be influenced by his con- 
fidence in others. ^/To obtain the information neces- 
sary for forming a correct opinion upon political 


questions is a duty specially incumbeDt upon those 
who possess in any degree the public confidenceT^ 
and haying been one of those honored with the 
confidence of a large portion of my Fellow Citizens, 
I have thought it my indispensable duty to make 
myself acquainted with the facts and the principles 
involved in the controversy relating to the Masonic 

^The authentication of the facts, and the devel- 
opment of principles resulting from them, was 
necessarily slow and gradual. The struggle be- 
tween the common rights of the people, and the 
exclusive privileges of an oath-bound association, 
organized for extensive secretly concerted action, 
has been long protracted, and there is no present 
prospect of its termination. The kidnapping and 
murder of William Morgan, for merely avowing the 
intention to reveal the secrets of Freemasonry, was 
the first act which roused the attention of the 
people to the nature and character of this Institu- 
tion. In the transaction of that tragedy, nine or 
ten of the most atrocious crimes that can be com- 
mitted by men, were perpetrated, by deeds to 
which several hundreds of men were accessory- 
men not of the class of criminals instigated to 
guilt by poverty, ignorance, or ferocious individual 
passions, but men in the educated and influential 
conditions of life, many of them men in all their 




other relations to society, of exemplary lives and 

At the time of the murder of Morgan I was exer- 
cising the office of President of the United States. 
Neither the penalties of Freemasonry, nor the prac* 
tical execution of them, by the Masons who mur- 
dered him, were known to the public in genera], 
nor to me. Freemasonry exercised an absolute 
control over all the public journals edited by mem- 
bers €>f the Institution, and over many others by 
terror and intimidation. Months and years elapsed 
before the murder itself was fully proved — nor has 
it been judicially proved to this day. The names 
indeed of the men who took him from his dungeon 
on the 19th of September, 1826, and closed a tor- 
ture of nine days' duration by sinking him in the 
middle of Niagara river, are perfectly well known. 
It is known that one of them was, according to 
Masonic law, upon avowal of his crime under the 
seal of the fifth libation, and under hot pursuit Jby 
the officers of justice, furnished by an Encampment 
of Knights Templars in the city of New York, with 
the means of escaping from this country. But the 
witnesses to all these transactions are Freemasons— 
and as accessories to the crimes of which they are 
cognizant, refuse or evade giving judicial testimony, 
on the express ground that they might thereby crim- 
inate themselves. There are clouds of witnesses, 


but they are participators in the guilt, and thus it is 
that Masonry protects itself from the judicial authen- 
tication of its crimes, by the very multitude of its 
accomplices, all bound by the invisible chains of 

But the trials of the Masonic outrages in the 
State of New York have exhibited other expositions 
of Masonic law. Masonic juries have been packed 
by Masonic sheriffs, for the express purpose not 
only of screening the guilty from punishment, but 
of falsifying the facts by presentments and verdicts 
known to themselves to be untrue. Masonic wit- 
nesses have refused to testify, and suffered impris- 
onment rather than disclose the facts known to 
them, even when they did not criminate themselves. 
Nor is this all. When conscience, bursting the 
bands of Masonry, has constrained Masonic wit- 
nesses to testify to crimes in which they themselves 
shared, and to the secrets of the craft, solitary 
Masonic jurors have refused their assent to verdicts, 
upon which all their fellows were agreed, on the 
avowed resolution that they would not believe any 
testimony of a seceding Mason. 

The extent to which the public justice of the 
country had been bafiSed, and the morals of the 
people vitiated by Freemasonry, was therefore dis- 
closed to me gradually, and by a slow process of 
time. Absorbed by other cares, and with time 


engrossed by the discharge of other duties, I was 
for years very imperfectly informed either of the 
laws of Masonry, or of the ascendency they were 
maintaining over the laws of the laud, or of the 
deep depravity with which they were cankering the 
morals of the people. Morgan's book was not 
published till some months after his death — and 
when published, the Masonic presses long labored 
in their double vocation of suppressing truth and 
propagating falsehood, by representing the dis* 
closures of that book as false. Yet Morgan had 
revealed the secrets only of the first degrees, and 
the deepest of Masonic abominations were yet 
screened from the public eye. It was not until the 
4th of July, 1828, that the Convention of seceding 
Masons, held at Le Roy, made public the secrets, 
oaths, obligations and penalties of the higher 
degrees — nor were the proceedings of that Conven- 
tion made known to me till I found them in David 
Bernard's. Li^hLon^ Masonry. 

To that book, and its author, permit me, my 
fellow-citizens, while recommending it to your 
perusal and meditation, to offer the tribute of un- 
feigned respect — a tribute the more richly deserved, 
for the slanders which Masonic benevolence and 
charity have showered upon them. Elder David 
Bernard was a minister of the Genesee Baptist 
Association in the State of New York. He was a 


man of good repute, and of blameless life and con- 
versation. Like many others, he was ensnared into 
the taking of fifteen degrees of Masonry, and was 
the intimate Secretary of the Lodge of Perfection. 
He was one of the first seceders from the order, 
and from that time underwent every possible per- 
secution from Masons, and the frequent danger of 
his life. Among the most interesting documents 
demonstrating the true spirit of Masonry, which 
have appeared in the course of this controversy, is 
the plain and unaflfected narrative of the treatment 
which he received, and of the scenes which he 
witnessed at the meetings of Lodges and Chapters, 
before the murder of Morgan, as well as after, from 
the time when it was projected in them. That it 
was so projected is established by his testimony, 
confirmatory of numerous other demonstrated facts. 

To David Bernard perhaps more than to any 
other man, the world is indebted for the revelation 
of the most execrable m ysteries of Masonry — nor 
could he, as a minister of the word of God, have 
performed a service to his country and his fellow 
Christians, more suitable to his sacred functions. It 
was principally by his exertions that the Le Roy 
Convention of seceding Masons assembled and 
published the oaths, obligations and penalties of the 
higher degrees of the order. 

From the time of that publication, the whole 


system of the Masonic laws, and their practical 
operation, having relation to the disclosure of their 
secrets, have been gradually unfolding themselves, 
and the law and its execution have been continual 
commentaries upon each other. When the murder 
of Morgan was first perpetrated, the instances were 
frequent of its being openly justified by members of 
the Institution, as being but the execution of a 
penalty^ to which he himself had assented — ^as it 
certainly was. Another class of Masons^ somewhat 
less resolute, contented themselves with maintaining 
that he was a perjured wretch for violating his 
oaths, and if he had been put to death had only 
suffered what he deserved. A third class sturdily 
denied the facts even after every thing but the last 
act of murder had been proved in regular judicial 
trials; and a fourth, intrenching themselves in 
ignorance, which they took care always to preserve, 
by turning away their eyes from all evidence of the 
facts, rested their defence from the charge of Mor- 
gan's murder by professing that they knew nothing 
about it. 

From the time when I first perused Elder Ber- 
nard's book, I became convinced that it was impos- 
sible for me to discharge my duties, as a citizen, to 
my country, by knowing nothing about it. By a 
constant comparison of the laws of Masonry with 
their practical execution, from the robbery of Mor- 


gan's manuscripts, and the abortive attempt to burn 
Miller's house, to the escape of Richard Howard 
from justice and from this country, a great multitude 
of facts combined to demonstrate the pervading 
efficacy of all the Masonic obligations. Measures 
always enfeebled and thwarted by Masonic influ- 
ence, were taken by the Legislature and Executive 
of the State of New York, to detect and bring the 
offenders to justice. The trials of the criminals 
were in progress — I endeavored to obtain informa- 
tion of their course and termination. The letters 
of Col. Stone, upon Masonry and Antimasonry, 
were addressed to me, in consequence of inquiries 
made by me, to another person, and communicated 
to him. With regard to the facts ascertained by 
those trials, the reports made to the Legislature of 
New York, and the proceedings of the first Anti- 
masonic Convention, held at Philadelphia, with the 
Essays of William Slade upon the Masonic Pen- 
alties, and the defence of Masonry by the Grand 
Lodge of Rhode Island, all concurred in furnishing 
a mass of information from which my conclusions 
were deduced. 

I saw a code of Masonic Legislation^ ddiipteA.W 
prostrate every principle of equal justice, and to 
corrupt every sentiment of virtuous feeling in the 
soul of him who bound his allegiance to it. I saw 
the practice of common honesty, the kindness of 



Christian benevolence, even the abstinence from 
atrocious crimes, limited exclusively, by lawless 
oaths, and barbarous penalties, to the social relations 
between the brotherhood of the Craft. I saw 
slander organized into a secret, wide-spread and 
affiliated agency, fixing its invisible fangs into the 
hearts of its victims, sheltered by the darkness of 
the lodge-room, and armed with the never-ceasing 
penalties of death. I saw self-invoked imprecations 
of throats cut from ear to ear, of heart and vitals 
torn out and cast forth to the wolves and vultures, 
of skulls smitten off, and hung on spires. I saw 
wine drank from a human skull with solemn invo- 
cation of all the sins of its owner upon the head of 
him who drinks from it. And I saw a wretched 
mortal man dooming himself to eternal punishment 
(when the last trump shall sound) as a guarantee 
for idle and ridiculous promises. Such are the laws 
of Masonry, such their indelible character, and with 
that character perfectly corresponded the history of 
the abduction and murder of Morgan, and the his- 
tory of Masonic lodges, chapters, and encampments, 
from that day to the present. 

To this general assertion, numerous exceptions 
must be made, not only of individual Masons, but 
of whole lodges and chapters. I wish I could say 
of encampments, which have surrendered their 
Masonic charters, or silently dissolved themselves. 


Other lodges and chapters have ceased to hold their 
meetings, and I have heard of yet others, which 
still holding their meetings, have ceased to admin- 
ister any of the oaths. Besides these, there are 
numbers of individual Masons, who have silently 
seceded and withdrawn from the Institution without 
renouncing it. It is probable that these exceptions 
include one third of all the Masons in the free States 
of this Union ; and to them, no observation of cen- 
sure which I have made upon Masonry or upon 
Masons, can apply. Their bearing is only upon 
adhering Masons and Masonry. 

But of that censure, the Grand Encampment, the 
Grand Chapter, and Grand Lodge of New York 
must take their full share. Their opinion of the 
laws of Masonry, and of their true exposition, is the 
same as mine. They have proved it by their deeds. 
They knew that the kidnappers and assassins of 
Morgan, the robbers of his manuscripts, the slan- 
derers who falsely charged him with larceny to 
seize upon his person and accomplish his destruc- 
tion, the incendiaries of the house of Miller ; that 
the sheriflfs who packed Masonic juries, the juries 
who falsified their verdicts, the witnesses who 
refused to testify, or deliberately testified to false- 
hood ; they knew that all these had but acted in 
strict conformity and faithful obedience to the letter 
and the spirit of the Masonic laws. So well did 


thej know it, that far from expelling any one of 
these criminals from the fraternity, they have hailed 
and recognized them as worthy brothers of the 
craft, have cheered them with consolation in their 
sufferings, indemnified them with money for their 
imprisonment, and spirited away one at least of the 
ruffians, whose hands were reeking with the blood 
of murder, from the public justice of their country. 
All this, fellow citizens, have I seen, through a 
succession of lime, now extending to more than 
seven years. /To inform myself of the facts I 
deemed a duty of paramount obligation upon me, 
as a man, a citizen, and a Christian ; especially 
after my release from the arduous duties of public 
office./ Had I been actuated by no other motives 
than sympathy with the feelings of my own imme- 
diate neighborhood and friends, I trust they would 
have needed no apology. It happened that the 
attention of the inhabitants of my native town of 
Quincy, had been drawn to the facts of the Morgan 
tragedy and of the laws c^ Masonry, years before I 
came to reside among them. There is a Masonic 
I Lodge in that town, and many of its members are 
among the worthiest and most respected citizens of 
the place. Several of them are my personal friends 
and kinsmen. When the Masonic controversy first 
made its way into this Commonwealth, the people 
of that town were among the first who became 


acquainted with the Masonic laws as thej were 
divulged, and with the Masonic crimes in New 
York, their natural progeny. A large majority of 
them became Antimasons, and so I found them upon 
my return among them. The spirit of Antimasonry 
had already pervaded the counties of Norfolk, 
Plymouth, and Bristol; and the secession of the 
Rev. Moses Thacher, and the controversies, ecclesi- 
astical and political, in which that step had involved 
him, occasioned much agitation among this portion 
of the people in the Commonwealth. 

In these dissensions I took no part ; but I should 
have been insensible to all my duties, had I closed 
my eyes to facts or turned my ear from argument, 
and smothered the sense of justice in my soul, for 
the privilege of blinking the public question, which 
was convulsing the neighborhood in which I lived, 
by professing to know nothing about it. 

Yet I did not intrude myself as a volunteer in the 
^y^ontroversy. It had been erroneously stated in a 
newspaper, edited by a high Masonic dignitary in 
Boston, that I was a Mason. In answer to an 
inquiry from a person in New York, whether I was 
so, I had declared that / was not^ and never should 
be. fXhis letter, without my knowledge or consent, 
crept into the public pints ; and from that day the 
revenge of Masonic charity^ from Maine to Louisi- 
ana (I speak to the letter) marked me for its own. 


At the critical moment of the Presidential election, 
in the counties of New York where Antimasonry 
was most prevailing, a hand-bill was profusely cir- 
culated, with a deposition upon oath, attested by a 
Masonic magistrate, of an individual, real or ficti- 
tious, swearing that he had been present at two 
different times (the dates of which were specified) 
with me at meetings of a Masonic Lodge at Pitts- 
field, — a town, in \vhich I had never entered a 
house in my life. 

This was the first punishment inflicted upon me 
by Masonic law, for declaring that I never should 
be a Mason« The influence of Masonry upon that 
Presidential election was otherwise exerted with 
considerable efiect ; and of the more recent election 
it decided, perhaps, the fate. I never noticed either 
the false annunciation in the Boston Centinel that I 
was a Mason, or the oath of the worthy brother of 
the Square and Compass, that he had twice met me 
at the Lodge in Pittsfield. They were both calum- 
nies, as strictly conformable to Masonic laws as to 
Masonic benevolence, and have been followed up 
by slanders coined at the same mint, and circulated 
through all the fraternizing presses of the land. 

I have stated to you, fellow citizens, the reasons 
and motives which have actuated me in the part 
that I have taken in the Masonic and Antimasonic 
controversy. To obtain an accurate knowledge of 


the facts, and of the real laws of Freemasonry, 
and to bring them to the test of pure moral princi* 
pies, I believed to be my indispensable duty, and 
having done that, it was no less my duty to bear 
my testimony on every suitable occasion both to 
facts and principles. 

CoK Stone's Letters contained an exposition of 
Masonic law, from a Knight Templar, who had 
withdrawn, but not seceded from the order — an 
exposition as favorable as the hand of a friend could 
make it, consistently with the candor of truth. It 
was palliative, excusatory, apologetical, for Masonry 
in its fairest colors ; and it first put forth the avow- 
al, that the Masonic obligations were not among the 
secrets of Masonry. This was a point upon which 
the most eminent dignitaries of the craft differed 
among themselves ; but in the mean time, the 
obligations were kept secret. They never had been 
divulged till the publication of Morgan's book since 
the forgotten revelations of Jachin and Boaz, the 
author of which is understood to have sufiered the 
same fate as Morgan. 

Col. Stone gave the original oath, obligation, and 
penalty, the only one taken at, and long after the 
primitive institution of the order. He also referred 
in his book to a manuscript of the oaths, obligations, 
and penalties, of the first seven degrees, including 
the Royal Arch, as they have generally been admin- 


iitered in the Lodges and Chapters of New Eng- 
land ; and he afterwards, at my request, transmitted 
to me the manuscript, which is now in my posses* 
sion. It is a complete, though abridged, summary 
of Masonic law to the degree of Royal Arch ; and 
the volume of Col. Stone gives the fair and full 
history of the execution of that law, in its conflict 
of five years with the sovereign authority of the 
State of New York. 

In those letters Col. Stone had also referred to an 

opinion, previously expressed by me to him in 

conversation, that the first step in Freemasonry, the 

initiatory rite, the Entered Apprentice's Oath, was 

vicious, immoral, and unlawful. By this publication 

of my opinion, which I had not authorized, but to 

which I could have no objection, I felt myself called 

upon to expose, by a strict analysis of the Entered 

Apprentice's oath, the reasons upon which I had 

passed that summary sentence of condemnation 

upon it. I addressed therefore to Col. Stone, for 

publication in the paper of which he is a joint 

/editor in New York, the four Letters on the Enter- 

/ ed Apprentice's Oath, which have since been exten- 

[ sively circulated, but which, such is the power of 

Masonry over the periodical press, it required no 

small exertion of fortitude and intrepidity in him to 


I shortly afterwards received from Benjamin 


Cowell, a citizen of Rhode Island, a letter, asking 
my opinion in what manner this vicious and immor- 
al institution could most effectively be put down. 
In my answer to him, I suggested two obvious 
modes of effecting that object. The one, that the 
Masons themselves should abolish or cease to admin- 
bter the oaths, obligations, and penalties ; and the 
other, that the administration of them should be 
prohibited under adequate penalties by legislative 
enactment in the several States. 

That they should be voluntarily abandoned by 
the Masons themselves, was my first wish, because 
that would have been a meritorious act, — an act 
now sanctioned by the example of the Lodge of my 
own constituents at Plymouth, to the members of 
which I tender hereby my warmest thanks, and 
which, if followed by all the Lodges, will, I have 
no doubt, (as it should,) put down all political Anti- 
masonry within the Commonwealth forever. But 
the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the 
United States, at a meeting held at Baltimore, had 
just issued an edict, forbidding this voluntary con- 
summation ; and there were numerous other indica- 
tions, that however multitudes of individual Masons, 
Lodges, and Chapters, were disposed to yield to 
the voice of reason, of religion, and of law, and to 
cease from the further administration of their hid- 
eous vows, this was not the temper, or intention of 


the high and leading members of the Institution ; 
and it was apparent that the principle of subordina- 
tion, so essentially woven into the texture of the 
order, would deter most of the inferior and affiliated 
associations of the fraternity from breaking their 
fetters and dissolving their bands. I believed, 
therefore, that the aid of legislative prohibition with 
penalties, would be indispensable for abating this 
moral nuisance in the community; and I recom- 
mended that the administration of the Masonic 
oaths should be prohibited by law, upon penalties of 
fine, and imprisonment, adequate to deter from the 
administration of them in future. 

I take this occasion, fellow citizens, to justify 
myself before you from an aspersion, which the 
Committee of the Convention of National Repub- 
licans at Worcester, (who resolved that their party 
must be a majority of the people, not only of the 
Commonwealth, but of the Union,) did not disdain, 
in their zeal, to make that majority cast upon me 
in their Address to you. The Committee assured 
you that Antimasonry was not a proper ground for 
political controversy, and as it did not suit their pur- 
poses fairly to state to you the real question between 
Masonry and Antimasonry, they presented you a 
fictitious one, invented in the lodge room, and 
adopted by them as their own. They told you that 
Antimasonry was a persecuting spirit, the object of 


which was to deprive Freemasons of their rights ; 
and by quoting with inverted commas, a passage of 
my letter to Mr. Co well, they perverted it into an 
assertion that I had recommended a law to punish 
men with " fine and imprisonment '' for being 
Masons. I recommended no such thing ; but as I 
know that some of the members of the Committee 
who signed that Address have learned to read, and 
as some of them may peradventure in times past 
have professed to be my friends, I take the liberty 
of a friend in recommending to them, the next time 
they shall be charged with addressing you, in behalf 
of a party which must have a majority, to respect 
yoUj if they will not respect themselves. To respect 
you, by abstaining from the slander of a political 
adversary, not less by a palpable misrepresentation 
than by wilful falsehood. 

I have great satisfaction in observing that within 
two months after the publication of the extracts of 
my letter to Mr. Cowell, the legislature of Rhode 
Island did, with great unanimity, enact a law pro- 
hibiting the administration of extra-judicial oaths, 
upon penalties of fine and political disfranchisement, 
which last is rather more severe, but more appropri- 
ate to the offence, than that which I had proposed. 
It is to be presumed that while that law remains in 
force, the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of 
the United States, which is to meet again at the 



City of Washington in December, 1835, will not 
again enjoin upon the Chapters and Lodges under 
their jurisdiction, at least within the State of Rhode 
hlandj a rigid adherence to the ancient landmarks 
of the Order ; that is, to these very extra-judicial 
oaths. They will, I trust, abstain also from repeat- 
ing the same injunction to the Chapters and Lodges 
in the State of Vermont, where a similar law, prohib- 
iting in substance the administration of the Masonic 
oaths, has lately been enacted. It happens that these 
san^ two States of Rhode Island and Vermont, are 
the identical States in which the Report of the Com- 
mittee of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of 
the United States, affirmed that Masonry had trium- 
phantly sustained itself, and with regard to Rhode 
Island that it had been sustained by the Legislature. 
Fellow citizens, I indulge the hope that before 
the next meeting of the General Grand Royal Arch 
Chapter of the United States, your statute book 
will present for their consideration, the same dispo- 
sal of the ^^ ancient landmarks " of Freemasonry. 
For when you shall have set your seal of reproba- 
tion upon those abominable appeals to the name of 
God, those atrocious obligations, those butchering 
and blasphemous penalties, and when the Freema- 
sons of your Commonwealth shall submit to your 
will, in this enactment, Antimasonry within your 
borders will be extinct^-mine at. least will ''die 


j away." There is not a Freemason in the State, to 
/ whom I bear personally a particle of ill will- 

.' There are many for whom I entertain a warm and 

cordial friendship, even of those who have declared 
to you that Freemasonry knows no penalty beyond 
admonition, suspension and expulsion. I am willing 
to believe that they did not understand, so well as 
the murderers of Morgan, the oaths they had taken; 
Even of those who have been slandering me with- 
out measure and without stint, I am ready to allow 
that they are only fulfilling their Masonic obligations, 
and following their vocation^ and that they have the 
example of my friends of the National Republican 
^Worcester Convention Committee, to sustain them. 
Whatever of evil there is in Antimasonry is but an 
aggravation of the sins of Masonry herself. 

I am aware of the objections to what is called 
political Antimasonry, which have hitherto deterred 
a large majority of you from resorting to it as an 
extinguisher to the baleful light of Freemasonry. 
One of the most fascinating allurements of the 
*' Handmaid " has been her influence in promoting 
the political advancement of the brethren of the 
Craft. Silent and secret in her operations, she 
raised them with invisible hand to place and power, 
and one of the first discoveries made by Antima- ^ 
sonry was, that three-fourths of all the offices 
within the range of the cable-tow were occupied by 


MasoDS. This had become in fact the great and 
absorbing employment of lodge, chapter, encamp- 
ment and consistory ; not while the Tyler with 
drawn sword was at the door — not while the Mas- 
ter, Grand Master, High Priest, or Illustrious Sir 
Knight was reading lessons of benevolence and 
charity, from the pages of Holy Writ — not while 
the slip-shod, hoodwinked, haltered, poor blind pil- 
grim was perambulating the lodge with pointed 
dagger at his breast, in search of light — not even 
in the passage from labor to refreshment, nor in the 
choruses of Masonic minstrelsy, so congenial to that 
decent mimicry of the ineffable Jehovah in the 
burning bush. All these were but the types and 
shadows of what was to come — all this was but the 
outward shell to the kernel of Masonic brother- 
hood. I The principle of preference established by 
the Masonic code of politics, was, that a brother of 
the craft was to be preferred to any other of equal 
qualifications. It was the odd trick of the game, 
and it shufiled all the honors into the hands of the 
Masonic partner.) 

This statute of Masonic law was in the year 
1816 promulgated under the seal of the compass 
and square, by a Master Mason in the Boston Cen- 
tinel, the same paper which afterwards so vera- 
dously declared me to be a member of the order. 
Little attention was paid to this political pass-word 


at the time. It was takea for a mere common 
electioneering paragraph. Its operation was neither 
seen nor suspected. The obligation had not then 
been sharpened into a positive promise upon oath, 
clinched as usual with the penalty of death ; but as 
a general portion of the law of exclusive favor to 
the brethren of the craft, operating unseen, and 
visible even in its effects only to the initiated ; it 
was as it always must be, a conspiracy of the few 
against the equal rights of the many ; anti-republi- 
can in its sap, from the fruit blushing at the summit 
of the plant to the deepest fibre of its root. 

It was, perhaps, this monopoly of public office, 
by the Masonic guide to the ballot box, which first 
suggested to the Antimasonic party, the expedient 
of counteracting its effects by adopting the same 
principle and reversing its application. It needed 
nothing more. If the Mason was bound, between 
candidates of equal qualifications, to prefer the 
brother of the craft, the Antimason was but turning 
upon him his own tables, in giving the same pref- 
erence to the brother Antimason. Yet this is the 
principle openly avowed as a fundamental law of the 
Masonic fraternity, but which turned upon them- 
selves, raises an universal outcry of proscription, 
disfranchisement and persecution. 

Fellow citizens, there is in my mind an objection 
to the principle itself. 1 It is but a modification of 


the selfish, intolerant and exclusive principle of party 
spirit. In the Masonic code and practice it has the 
additional vice of secret operation. / When Antima- 
sonry first raised its head in New York, it found 
three fourths of all the elective offices in the State 
in the hands of Masons. The proportion of Masons 
to the whole population was not one fiftieth part. 
How is it with you now ? Look to the delegation 
from your city in your House of Representatives. 
Boston, to speak in round numbers, has ten thou- 
sand citizens qualified by your constitution and laws 
to serve as Representatives in the General Court ; 
of these ten thousand, one thousand may be 
Masons. Boston had last year sixty-three members 
in the House. Of these, by relative proportion of 
numbers, there should have been six, or at most 
seven Masons. How many were there? Nearly 
thirty. Of the number this Year elected, the Ma- 
sonic proportion is not less. / Here are then nine 
thousand citizens of Boston, qualified to serve as 
Representatives in the Legislature, virtually dis- 
franchised, that is, deprived of the enjoyment of 
their rights, by the preference of brother Masons 
over others of equal qualifications, and the exclu- 
sive selection of Masons to fill the seats, the access 
to which ought, by your constitution and laws, to be 
enjoyed equally by alhj 

Look to the delegation in your Senate from the 


county of Worcester, the very throne of Masonry 
in the Commonwealth. There are in that county 
say ten thousand citizens eligible to the Senate. 
One tenth of that number may be Masons — one 
member in the Senate would be more than their 
fair proportion of the representation. They have 
five out of six. Now if the Freemasons of Wor- 
cester county were, like the Patricians of ancient 
Rome in her early days, an order of nobility, 
exclusively eligible to seats in the Senate, what 
would be the difference of the result from that 
which is here effected, by the Masonic preference of 
a brother of the craft over others of equal qualifi- 
cations ? 

I shall not now inquire what influence this com- 
bined action of Masonic agency, by the united nu- 
meric power of the city of Boston and the county of 
Worcester in your legislative councils, has, and must 
have over the administration and policy of the whole 
Commonwealth. Its power will be pre-eminently 
conspicuous in the proceedings of your legislature* 
I only invite your attentive observation of its effects. 
Watch the movements of your General Court, 
especially upon every subject connected with the 
supremacy of Masonry, and observe the issues, as 
they may affect your own interests, of the Masonic 
sympathies between the delegations firom the city of 
Boston and the county of Worcester. 


^^ The preference at elections, of Antitnasons for 

/ candidates of their own opinions, is nothing more 

^ than the application of the Masonic rule and prac- 

/ tice of electioneering to themselves. It is only jus- 

^^ifiable as a defensiv e„ineasure, and as a means^ of" 

counteracting the rapacious grasp of Masonry at all 

the offices of the land. 

In my letter to Mr. Cowell, I did not express my 
approbation of political Antimasonry even to the 
whole of this extent. I confined my approbation 
to the elections of members to the State Legisla- 
tures ; and to them, only until statutes prohibiting 
with adequate penalties the administration of 
Masonic oaths should be enacted. The Legisla- 
tures of Rhode Island and Vermont have enacted 
such statutes, and if the Masons in those two States 
submit to them, Masonry within them must ulti- 
mately die, as corporations are extinguished, by the 
death of all their members. 

A far manlier and mere honorable course would 
be that proposed by Samuel Elliot, a Royal Arch 
Mason, of Vermont, a stranger to me, but a man 
who deserves well of his country, who had the 
intrepidity to call upon his brethren and companions 
of the order to yield to the unequivocal voice and 
wishes of their fellow citizens ; to lay down their 
childish pageants and preposterous dignities ; to 
cast away their paper crowns and lackered sceptres; 


their globe and cross-crowned mitres, and their 
harlequin wooden swords of knighthood ; and to 
emerge from the tawdry honors of Grand Kings 
and High Priests, and Princes of the Royal Secret, 
and resume the plain, unembroidered, laceless, but 
comfortable and decent garb of Republican citizens. 
This proposition was indeed perilous to him who 
made it, and the floodgates of slander, according 
to the ancient usages of the order, were immedi- 
ately opened upon him. But it was regularly con- 
sidered and debated at a meeting of the Grand 
Lodge of Vermont, at which were present one 
hundred and twenty members delegated from the 
several secular lodges in the State. Of these, forty- 
one voted for accepting the proposal of Mr. Elliot, 
one third of the whole number ; and it was before 
the act of the Legislature prohibiting the adminis- 
tration of extra-judicial oaths. ^Let the moral Anti- 
masons who concur in the opinion that the Masonic 
oaths and obligations are vicious and immoral, but 
who are unwilling to manifest this opinion at the vS 
ballot box, reflect upon this fact. Immediately 
before it occurred, the two great political parties 
had combined together, and burying all their dis- 
tinctive principles, and distributing prospectively 
between them all the offices and honors of the 
State — had united in one gi^at and convulsive eflfort 
to put down Antimasonry. j It failed ; the atmos- 

82 / 


phere of the Green Mountains diffuses around them 
not only a physical but moral and political air too 
pure for the contamination of political prostitution 
The people at the ballot boxes bastardized the 
fruits of this unnatural union, and prostrated both 
the parties to it before the lofty spirit of Anti- 

The immediate consequence of this event was 
the convocation of the Grand Lodge of the State, 
to consider the proposition of the Royal Arch Com- 
panion Elliot, and although it did not then succeed 
entirely, one important step to the dissolution of 
the order was taken. The Grand Lodge did grant 
a permission to the secular lodges under their 
jurisdiction, to dissolve themselves ; a process which 
it is earnestly to be hoped that they will generally 
pursue. For let the institution but be once for- 
mally extinguished by the voluntary act of its 
members in one State of this Union, and I harbor 
not a doubt that it will very shortly vanish from the 

It is to this voluntary relinquishment of the 
whole system of Freemasonry by its own members, 
that I look for that great moral and political reform, 
which will be effected by the extinction of the 
order. Ta this sacrifice of their prejudices and 
their pride, of their vanities and their follies, they 
must be brought by the power of permanent and 


quickening public opinion. I have approved of the 
ballot box as one of the modes of manifesting this 
opinion ; and this the more readily, because it was 
at the ballot box that the maleficent power of the 
Masonic trowel was cementing the edifice of the 
polluted Temple. But I have not deemed the 
ballot box the only, or even the favorite weapon of 
Antimasonry. I have sanctioned the partial resort 
to it with reluctance ; and would rejoice to see the 
day when it should be no longer necessary. I have 
indeed never resorted to it myself, by interfering in 
any election against a Masonic candidate, and have 
in the discharge of my own duties, peferred other 
modes of operating, to the extent of my poor ahil* 
ity, upon public opinion. 

It was this last motive that induced me to publish 
the four letters to Col. Stone, upon the Entered 
Apprentice's oath, in which, by a minute analysis of 
it in all its parts, the appeal to God, the promise 
and the penalty, it was my purpose to prove it 
wrong, vicious, unlawful and immoral— contrary to 
the principles of Christianity, of humanity, of law, 
of eternal truth and justice. To those letters, 
now fifteen months published, not one word of reply 
has ever appeared. 

When the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of 
the United States, at their last triennial meeting, 
issued their mandate and exhortation to the chap- 


ters under their jurisdiction, and their subordinate 
lodges, to turn themselves into lyceums and schools 
of useful knowledge, but to adhere to their Ancient 
Landmarks — meaning their oaths, obligations and 
penalties, I saw in their proceedings a new occasion 
for an appeal to the moral sense of the community. 
Edward Livingston, then Secretary of State of 
the United States, was re-elected their Grand High 
Priest, an office which he had occupied for the three 
preceding years. The personal relations between 
this gentleman and myself had uniformly been of a 
friendly character. As the legislator of a criminal 
code for Louisiana, and as on more than one occa- 
sion a sound expositor of the principles of our 
National Constitution, he had acquired my esteem, 
my admiration, I had almost said my veneration. 
In his code for Louisiana, he had proposed the total 
abolition of the punishment of death, and in his 
report to the legislature had supported this propo- 
sition with a power of reasoning and of eloquence, 
which, without entirely convincing my judgment, 
had been viewed by me as at once the proof of a 
vigorous mind and the pledge of a benevolent 
heart. It appeared to me impossible that such a 
man could read the letters on the Entered Appren- 
tice's oath, without either assenting to their argu- 
ment, or perceiving the indispensable necessity to 
the institution of refuting it. I could not believe 


it possible that he should deliberately consider the 
oaths, obligations and penalties, which it was yet 
his official duty to administer, either innocent, or 
harmless deceptions ; speaking, in the name of God, 
one thing and meaning another. As the General 
Grand High Priest of Masonry in the United 
States, he was bound to be the official defender of 
the institution against any serious charge of unlaw- 
fulness or immorality, and he had, perhaps incon- 
siderately, assumed not only that character, but that 
of an accuser of Antimasonry at the bar of public 
opinion, in his inaugural address at his first installa- 
tion. I sent him, therefore, a copy of the letters 
on the Entered Apprentice's oath, and addressed 
six letters to himself, calling upon him to defend his 
Institution or to purge it of its impurities ; to main- 
tain his charges against a numerous and respectable 
class of his fellow citizens, or to retract them. 

There are men upon whom the consciousness of 
having done great wrong to others, produces little 
remorse, unless awakened to the sense of their own 
injustice by feeling the application of the scourge 
from another hand. I did not believe Mr. Livings- 
ton to be a person of such a character. I gave him 
credit for honest and generous feeling. I believed 
that if reminded of a gross injury committed inad- 
vertently by himself in the form of erroneous 
imputations upon others, he would hasten to repair 


it. The voluntary reparation of its own injustice, 
is one of the most glorious features of true mag- 
nanimity. Mr. Livingston did not notice my 
letters ; not even by acknowledging the receipt of 
them. Had they been upon any other subject, I 
have reason to know that they would have been 
received with friendly acknowledgment and cour- 
tesy. But you will recollect that in his inaugural 
address upon his installation as the Grand High 
Priest of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of 
the United States, to his brethren and companions, 
he advised them — that if the cause and the effect ; 
if the oaths, obligations and penalties of Masonry 
as the cause; and the literal execution of them 
upon Morgan and Miller as the effect ; followed by 
the baffling of the sovereign authority of the State 
of New York in all its exertions to bring the 
murderers and incendiaries to justice ; if the throat- 
cutting, embowelling, heart and vital-tearing, skull- 
smiting, hanging, drowning, quartering, double and 
treble eternal damnation of the penalties on one side, 
— and if on the other, the apathy of the Masonic 
executive government of New York, the packing 
of Masonic juries by Masonic sheriSs, the perjuries 
and prevarications of Masonic witnesses, the grants 
of Masonic funds by the Grand Lodge and Grand 
Chapter of New York to the convicted and con- 
fessing kidnappers of Morgan, under the denomi- 


nation of Western Sufferers ; if the illustrious and 
successful achievement of the encampment of 
Knights Templars in New York, in rescuing from 
the gibbet, and conveying beyond the seas, one of 
the murderers of Morgan; — if all this should be 
pressed home and hard upon the fraternity, they 
should meet it all with dignified silence ! 

I could not be surprised, therefore, at finding him 
practice upon his own precept ; or at discovering 
the difference of moral principle^ between Edward 
Livingston the Legislator of Louisiana, and Ed- 
ward Livingston the General Grand High Priest of 
the Royal Arch Masonry of the Union. 

You will observe, fellow citizens, that neither in 
my letters to Col. Stone, nor in those to Edward 
Livingston, was there one word of political Anti- 
masonry. The object of the letters to Col. Stone 
was to prove by plain and unanswerable argument^ 
that the Masonic Institution in its first rite of 
initiation, is radically and incurably vicious — That 
of the letters to Mr. Livingston was to prevail 
upon him to exercise his great and powerful influ- 
ence to discard those oaths, obligations and penalties^ 
which are the indelible disgrace of the order. To 
these letters no answer has been made or attempted. 

When my letter to Mr. Cowell was first pub- 
lished, it was in like manner left unnoticed; but 
when the recent election came on, then came the 


season for revenge ; then it was that a part of my 
letter to Mr. Cowell was produced, published and 
trumpeted abroad ; and by the same process which 
in Masonic logic and language expounds a throat 
cut across from ear to ear to mean expulsion from a 
lodge — a declaration that I would, if a member of a 
State legislature, vote for the enactment of a statute 
prohibiting upon pain of fine and imprisonment 
the administration in future of the Masonic oaths — 
was represented as a recommendation to cast into 
prison every Freemason to whom the oaths have 
been administered heretofore. And this Royal Arch 
mistakej the Committee of the Worcester Conven- 
tion did not disdain, in addressing you, to adopt 
and make their own. 

Before entering upon the field of the Masonic 
controversy, I had not only deemed it my indispen- 
sable duty to possess myself of the facts and princi- 
ples material to it, but to contemplate the con- 
sequences which would, and those which might, 
result from being involved in it myself. In the 
district which I was then to represent in Congress, 
about two-fifths of the population were Antimasons ; 
but the political majorities in both the counties of 
Plymouth and of Norfolk, were Masonic, or at least 
adverse to Antimasonry. Throughout the Common- 
wealth, the Antimasons were in numbers scarcely 
one-fifth, and in Boston not more than one-tenth of 


the voting citizens, while the combined concen- 
trated action of the three Masonic strong holds of 
the State — Boston, Worcester and Salem — had 
already succeeded, in accordance with the mandate 
of the General Grand High Priest of the Royal 
Arch Chapter of the United States, in raising 
clouds of obloquy and persecution against the cause 
of Antimasonry itself, and against all who espoused 
it. I saw very distinctly that Antimasonry was not 
the path of ambition. It was certain to give 
umbrage to a large majority of the people of the 
State under their then existing impressions. It 
would probably displease three-fifths of my own 
constituents, whose displeasure might soon be man- 
ifested at the ballot-box. Their suffrages had not 
been solicited by me, nor had I the most distant 
imagination that I should ever appear as a candi- 
date for the suffrages of the people of the State, as 
their Chief Magistrate. I had at other periods of 
my life enjoyed large portions of their favor, and 
had received recent proof that that favor was not 
abated. I had nothing more ever to ask of them 
but their good opinion, and that was inexpressi- 
bly precious to me. Why should I expose myself 
to the risk of forfeiting it altogether, without 
any earthly object or prospect of benefit to my- 
My only answer to this question is, — It was the 



cause of truth and pure morals ; it was an abused 
and calumniated cause ; it was a cause deeply 
interesting to my constituents, to my fellow citizens, 
and to my country. 

My re-election to Congress, by an undiminished 
majority of my constituents, had been very gratify- 
ing to me, as a token that the portion of my fellow 
citizens in that district, opposed to Antimasonry, 
were so far disposed to tolerate my disagreement 
in opinion with them upon this point, that they did 
not consider it as a reason for withdrawing their 
confidence from me* 

The Masonic denunciation and misrepresentation 
of my letter to Mr. Coweli had been tried against 
me there, without effect. Neither Masonry nor An- 
timasonry were subjects of controversy in Congress, 
and it was enough for me to know that the great 
mass of my constituents were satisfied that my zeal 
for Antimasonry had in no wise interfered with the 
faithful discharge of my duties as their Represen- 

The Antimasonic Convention held at Boston in 
September, were pleased to nominate me as their 
candidate for your suffrages as Chief Magistrate of 
the Commonwealth for the ensuing year. I knew 
that their chief object in tendering to me the nom- 
ination, was to make an effort to restore the har- 
mony between the two divisions of the National 


Republican party, which had long constituted the 
vast majority of the people of the Commonwealth. 
They were as yet separated only by that line : I 
believed there was no neutral ground. Aware of 
personal prejudices against me existing in a respect- 
able portion of the National Republican party, upon 
other and long standing collisions between them and 
me — and the public service in which I was engaged 
being more adapted to the experience of my past 
life, and better suited to considerations of interest 
to me, though of none to the public — I had very 
sincerely hoped and expected that the views of the 
Antimasonic party would unite upon some other 
citizen, as their candidate for the chief magistracy 
of the State. Their nomination was however 
placed upon grounds which it was impossible for me 
to withstand ; and as I knew it was on their part a 
tender of the olive branch to those of their fellow 
citizens with whom they had long walked in the 
strength of united councils, and from whom they 
had parted only at the dictate of a pure, uncom- 
promising moral principle ; I accepted their nomi- 
nation in the same spirit in which it was tendered, 
and in my answer of acceptance, expressed to them 
my determination, if the suffrages of the people 
should confirm their nomination, to carry into effect, 
to the utmost extent of my ability, their purpose of 
restoring harmony to the Commonwealth, and of 
promoting, as far as possible, that of the Union. 


But in this acceptance, you will perceive, fellow 
citizens, that there was a condition expressed — and 
there was also one implied. The expressed condi- 
tion was, the contingency that the suffrages of the 
people should confirm the nomination. I was re- 
solved in no event to hold the office of Governor of 
the Commonwealth, from any hands other than 
those of a majority of the people themselves — for 
the obvious reason that it was impossible for the 
representative of a minority of the people, to be the 
suitable agent for promoting harmony among them. 
If therefore a majority of the people should reject 
the nomination accepted by me, it was clear that the 
restoration of harmony, if to be effected at all, must 
be accomplished under happier auspices than my 
elevation to your highest trust. A failure, therefore, 
of a single vote short of a majority, constituting me 
your Governor by your own voice, would have been 
a decisive indication to me, that harmony could only 
be promoted by me, not by persevering in the con- 
test of an election, but (if in any possible manner) 
by retiring from it. 

The implied condition was dependent upon the 
same contingency. It was that my election should 
involve no dereliction of other public duties with 
which I was charged. I was a Representative 
elect of the Twelfth District of the Commonwealth 
in the Congress of the United States. Of the im- 


portance to your interests and to the welfare of the 
Union that you should have a full representation in 
the popular branch of the national legislature, at all 
times and without intermission, I had always had a 
strong impression, and have now an impression much 
deepened by the painful experience of the last Con- 
gress ; in which, for the want of that full representa- 
tion, you suffered in various ways gross injustice, 
and particularly by the curtailment of your constitu- 
tional right in that representation itself. As the 
Representative of the Twelfth District, I held it to 
be my duty to enter into no engagement which 
should deprive my constituents of their voice in the 
national legislature for a single day. If therefore, 
even before your annual election was held, I had 
seen reason to expect that I should be chosen your 
Governor by the majority of the people, I should 
have resigned my seat in Congress, in ample time 
to give my constituents the opportunity before the 
meeting of Congress, to elect another Representative 
in my place. The Convention held at Worcester 
the first week in October, rendered this measure on 
my part unnecessary, and in resolving to take my 
seat in Congress, 1 assumed the fulfilment of duties 
incompatible with my acceptance of the office of 
Governor of the Commonwealth. 

In saying this, fellow citizens, I intend no reflec- 
tion upon the candidate of the National Republican 


party, for your suffrages as Governor ; nor do I mean 
to say or insinuate that he is, or should be bound by 
the principles of conduct which my sense of duty 
prescribes to me for the government of mine. He 
was nominated by a Convention, who, instead of 
tendering or accepting an olive branch, resolved that 
they must have a majority, and set all other parties 
in the Commonwealth at defiance. He had no call 
from them to promote harmony ; and if in the event 
of his election he should, as I hope and trust he will, 
do so, it will be in the indulgence of his own fair 
and honorable spirit, and not by following the im- 
pulse of that Convention, who, representing the 
remnant of a party which once had a majority, seem 
to have persuaded themselves that it must necessari- 
ly last forever. 

He has besides this, a vote of the people, by sev- 
eral thousands, larger than mine ; and although by 
the provisions of your Constitution, this is not suffi- 
cient for his election, nor even to control the choice 
of your representatives in the legislature, it is yet 
amply sufficient reason for me to withdraw from a 
contest with him, but not calling upon him to with- 
draw from a contest with me, or with either of the 
other candidates, nominated by the Constitution. 

He is also the Representative of one of your Dis- 
tricts in the Congress of the United States, and his 
acceptance of the office of Governor, will necessarily 


vacate his seat, and leave his constituents for a time 
(I hope a very short one) unrepresented. 

Mr. Davis does not estimate the evil and danger 
of incomplete representation in the Congress of the 
United States, as of so great magnitude as I do ; 
and I regret to say, that your opinions upon this 
subject, appear to correspond more with his senti- 
ments than with mine. There is a great defect in 
your laws, relating to the election of members of the 
House of Representatives of the United States. 
They require an absolute majority of all the votes 
returned, and make no provision for the contingency 
frequently occurring when such majority cannot be 
obtained. This is one of the cases in which prac- 
ticable good is sacrificed to theoretic perfection ; a 
principle unsound in morals and mischievous in pol- 
itics. The consequence of it is, that by adhering to 
it inflexibly you voluntarily deprive yourselves of the 
full representation to which you are entitled. 

At the commencement of the last Congress, two 
of your Districts were thus unrepresented, and the 
immediate consequence of that was the choice of a 
Speaker, assuredly not favorable to your interests. 
Had those two vacancies been filled, another person, 
less hostile to you, would have been chosen. Com- 
mittees would have been appointed with more regard 
to impartiality, and you would not have been de- 
prived by political management of one thirteenth 


part of your right in the representation, as you 
have been, for the next ten years. Nor is this 
the only or the greatest wrong you are suffering 
and will suffer by your perseverance in stripping 
yourselves of your own right. At the time to 
which I allude, your whole delegation in the 
House, with the exception of Mr. Davis, were so 
impressed with the importance of this defect in your 
laws, that they addressed a joint letter to Governor 
Lincoln, requesting him to recommend a revision of 
them to the legislature. He did so— but no effect- 
ual remedy was provided. You remained for nearly 
the whole Congress unrepresented for one of your 
Districts ; for nearly the whole of a long and most 
important session unrepresented for both ; and now, 
at this day, shorn of your constitutional right to one 
member by a grossly unjust apportionment law, you 
are again self-divested of the right to another, by 
the neglect of your past legislature to provide a rem-- 
edyfor the evil. To provide such a remedy, I be- 
lieve to be one of their most imperious duties to you. 
That an effectual remedy is perfectly in their power, 
the example of nearly every other State in the 
Union testifies ; and I can only express, as I do, my 
earnest and anxious hope, that not one more session 
of your legislature shall be suffered to pass, without 
some provision of law, which shall secure to you at 
least the remnant of your right to representation in 


the councils of the nation which the injustice of the 
present apportionment law has left you. 

Let me not be understood as recommending the 
principle, though sustained by the example of sev- 
eral States of the Union, that a simple plurality of 
votes should be sufficient for an election. There is 
among the temporary laws of the Commonwealth, a 
statute enacted in the year 1803, which while it last- 
ed did insure to you a full representation in Con- 
gress ; but it was suffered to expire, rather by inad- 
vertence than from any dissatisfaction that was ever 
occasioned by it. To the principle of requiring an 
absolute majority of votes, I would adhere so long as 
a reasonable hope of effecting it could be entertained, 
but after two unsuccessful attempts, I believe it 
would be a safer expedient to terminate the contest 
even by drawing lots for the choice, than by the 
protracted collisions and festering irritations of an 
interminable struggle to turn the elective franchise 
into an instrument of its own destruction. 

Entertaining these opinions and holding these 
principles, I consider the delegation to me of the 
authority to represent in the national legislature, the 
inhabitants of your Twelfth Congressional District, 
as a trust, to be fulfilled with diligence as well as 
fidelity. Not one day — not one hour— of voluntary 
absence from the discharge of the duties incumbent 
on that trust, have I permitted to myself during the 



twenty-second Congress, nor shall I permit to my- 
self during the twenty-third. In accepting the 
nomination of the Convention at Boston, it was 
therefore with the implied condition that it should 
in no wise interfere with the fulfilment of my duties 
to my constituents of the Twelfth Congressional 
District — and from the moment it was ascertained 
that an absolute majority of the people of the Com- 
monwealth had not confirmed the nomination of the 
Antimasonic Convention, my determination was 
taken. And this determination was the more cheer- 
fully made, because the three other citizens, between 
whom your suflfrages are divided, and who will go 
as candidates nominated by you to the legislature, 
are all persons of ability and integrity, with whom I 
have the pleasure of being acquainted both in public 
and private life, and in whom I have great confi- 
dence. To yield to either of them any pretensions 
that I might have to your favor or that of your legis- 
lature, costs me not the slightest sacrifice, and after 
what I have said of Mr. Davis, it cannot be improper 
for me to add, that the preference which I should 
without hesitation assign to him, had I a vote in the 
election, would be as much in the indulgence of my 
own inclination, as in deference to yours ; it being 
evident to me from the comparative numbers of the 
returns, that in the failure of an absolute majority of 
your suffrages for any one, his share of them ap- 


preaches the nearest to it and must therefore be 
considered by me as most deserving of it. 

In concluding this exposition of my own motives 
for assenting to the nomination of the Antimasonic 
Convention, and for now withdrawing from the con- 
test, let me give the parting advice of a friend to the 
remnant of the party styling themselves National 
Republicans, with whom I have generally concurred 
in opinion upon most of the great interests of the 
Nation and of the Commonwealth — though I have 
never professed to be one of them or of any other 
party. Let me exhort them to revise the Political 
Class Book, the elements of which confound the 
distinction between the meaning of the words must 
and wilL Let them learn that it is not sufiScient 
for a party to resolve that they must have a majority 
of votes, without using just and proper means 
to obtain it. Let them especially learn that to 
put down Anti masonry, it is not enough for them 
dogmatically to tell you that th£t ^Mook upon 
the Masonic fraternity as furnishing no cause for 
political strife." 

The opinions of their addressing committee are 
no doubt of great weight upon subjects which they 
understand — but in the utter ignorance of the nature, 
character and condition of the Masonic institution 
which their address displays, it is not from them that 
you will receive a dictation how you shall look upon 


it. They speak of Freemasonry as ^^ an inefficient 
and almost superannuated institution." An institu- 
tion whichy at the moment when thus characterized 
by them, was convulsing all the free States of this 
Union ; an institution in support of which, under 
the transparent mask of neutrality, they were ad- 
dressing you with pages of invective and slander 
upon its adversaries ; an institution, under the 
shadow of whose wings they, and the Convention 
whose voice they assumed to speak, were as effec- 
tively assembled as if every individual of them had 
drank the cup of the fifth libation ! They tell you 
in the face of day, that Freemasonry is an inefficient 
and almost superannuated institution ! 

And since when is it inefficient and almost super- 
annuated ? Had the committee which penned that 
address heard the eloquent orator of the craft at 
New London, in July, 1825 ? He spoke of the then 
present time^ and said, " It is powerful — it comprises 
men of rank, wealth, office and talent, in power and 
out of power, and that in almost every place where 
power is of any importance. And it comprises 
among other classes of the community to the lowest, 
in large numbers, active men united together, and 
capable of being directed by the efforts of others so 
as to have the force of concert throughout the civil- 
ized world. They are distributed too with the 
means of knowing one another, and the means of 


CO-OPERATING, in the desk, in the legislative hall, 
ON THE BENCH, in everj gathering of business, in 
every party of pleasure, in every domestic circle, in 
peace and in war, among enemies and friends, in 
one place as well as in another." 

Is this the inefficient and almost superannuated 
institution of the committee ? And upon this 
faithful Masonic representation of Masonic power, 
did you mark this concerted secret faculty of mutual 
recognition for the purposes of co-operation, in the 
legislative hall ? Did you mark its ascent upon the 
very bench of justice ? Is this the inefficient and 
almost superannuated institution ? What must be 
the result of a mutual secret recognition for the 
purposes of co-operation between a judge on the 
bench, and a suitor or a culprit at the bar ? Inquire 
of the records of the judicial tribunals of New 
York, and they will furnish the answer. 

Has the institution, in the short space of time 
since the exhibition of this glowing picture of its 
power, been suddenly struck with inefficiency and 
superannuation ? If the committee had consulted 
Masonic authority, they would have found that the 
interval of fifteen months between the delivery of 
this discourse and the murder of William Morgan, 
was one of unparalleled prosperity to the order and 
unexampled multiplication of its members. Since 


the execution of the law of Masonry upon Morgan, 
by the co-operation, among others, of the Bench^ 
the institution has been, and continues to be, a 
church militant ; and if in the prosecution of that 
warfare it has lost some of its efficiency, to whom 
and to what is this diminution of its power attrib- 
utable ? To Antimasonry — to political Antimasonry 
alone. All the measures taken to bring the mur- 
derers of Morgan and the incendiaries of Miller's 
house to justice, were taken by political Antimasons. 
Almost all of them were defeated by the power of 
mutual recognition and co-operation upon the Bench^ 
and in the jury-box, and on the witnesses' stand. 
The disclosure of the Masonic oaths, obligations 
and penalties, was made by political Antimasons, 
seceders from the order. Political Antimasonry, 
and that alone, has prostrated the power of Mason- 
ry throughout the whole of that region of the State 
of New York, where the most atrocious of her 
crimes had been committed. There, in the very 
centre of her unhallowed dominion, her sceptre is 
broken, her voice is silenced, her hand is paralyzed, 
— she is scotched, not killed, and so entirely does 
the existence, and of course all the evil, of political 
Antimasonry depend upon the active and mischiev- 
ous existence of Masonry herself, that wherever 
she disappears, even but by hiding her face, political 


Antimasonrj disappears with her. The people 
cease to consider either Masonry or Antimasonry as 
a test of qualification for office. Masons and Ma- 
sonic adherents share the favor of the people in 
common with others, and then all the trumpets of 
Masonry, where she still reigns, sound the note of 
triumph that Antimasonry is " dying away," 

Political Antimasonry is founded upon a pure, 
precise, unequivocal principle of morals. That this is 
the Antimasonic cause, the committee who address- 
ed you against it dare not deny. Moral principle is 
the vital breath of Antimasonry. That a party 
thus originated and thus constituted, should be 
traduced, slandered and vilified by men having any 
pretension to morality of any kind themselves, is 
not surprising, only because it corresponds with the 
general current of history and the ordinary opera- 
tion of human passions. 

Political Antimasonry sprang from the bosom of 
the people themselves, and it was the cry of horror 
from the unlearned, unsophisticated voice of the 
people at the murder of Morgan — at the prostration 
of law and justice in the impunity of his murderers, 
and at the disclosure of the Masonic obligations. 
That cry arose, not from the mansions of the 
wealthy, nor from the cabinets of the learned or of 
the great, not even from the sentinels on the watch- 


towers of Zion ; — it came from the broad basis of 
the population ; from the less educated and most 
numerous class of the community. So it is with all 
great moral reforms. When the Gospel of Peace 
itself was proclaimed, who was its Founder ? To 
worldly eyes, the son of a carpenter. Who were its 
Apostles ? Fishermen and tollgatherers, publicans 
and sinners. Then the Priest and the Levite — the 
Pharisee and the Sadducee — the Epicurean and the 
Stoic — the Roman Governor and Jewish king stood 
aloof, or co-operated in the crucifixion of the 
Saviour. Not many wise men, not many mighty, 
not many noble, felt the efficacy of the call ; and 
they who did, immediately became the subject of 
every persecution and every indignity. 

Let me draw no irreverent parallel ; but the his- 
tory of Christianity in its secondary causes, is the 
history of all reformations of morals. It was by 
means of the political Antimasonic excitement, that 
the spirit of reformation penetrated from the mass 
of the people into the bosom of the lodge, chapter 
and encampment themselves. 

The Le Roy Conventions were composed of se- 
ceding Masons. The Dagon of the Temple fell in 
the presence and by the hands of his own worship- 
pers. If then Masonry has lost some portion of her 
efficiency since the boasting celebration of her 


power, by her orator at New London, it is to politi- 
cal Antimasonry alone, that this purification of the 
public morals must be ascribed. At this moment, 
between the convulsive struggles of Masonry to 
maintain in this Commonwealth her empire para- 
mount to the laws, and the persevering efforts of 
Antimasonry to redeem their supremacy, all the 
great parties in the State appear to be dissolving 
into their elements. Your political divisions are 
becoming petty altercations for men — all community 
of feeling and interest in public concerns is shivering 
into rags. You have been unable to concentrate 
your votes with united energy sufficient to elect the 
ordinary officers of your government. You have of 
your own choice, no Governor, no Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor, scarcely a quorum of your Senate, and mul- 
titudes of the Representatives of your towns have 
failed to be elected by yourselves. 

A long continuance of this state of things will 
yield you and your interests to the mercy of those 
associated with you in the national compact, — yet 
feeling no sympathy with you, but much rather a 
disposition to trample you under their feet. Of all 
this, FREEMASONRY is the cause. Let but the 
members of that fraternity within your borders, 
convert their lodges into lyceums, and cease the 
administration of their oaths, and you may again be 



a happy and united people. May it so please the 
Supreme Disposer of events, prays with every sen- 
timent of respect and gratitude to you. 

Your friend and fellow citizen, 



The following are exact copies of the oaths, obligations and 
penalties, of the first three degrees in Masonry — the Entered 
Apprentice, the Fellow Crafl, and the Master Mason— extracted 
from the old manuscript mentioned in Col. William L. Stone's 
Letters on Masonry and Antimasonry, Letter 7, p. 67 ; and in 
the Appendix, p. 3, where it is said that while Morgan was at 
Rochester, these papers were there, and already written to his 


r, A. B., do, of my own free will and accord, in the presence 
of God, and of this right worshipful lodge, erected to God, and 
dedicated to holy St. John, hereby and hereon most solemnly and 
sincerely promise and swear. 

That I will always hail, forever conceal, and never reveal, any 
of the secret or secrets of Masons or Masonry, which at this • 
time, or at any time hereafter, shall be communicated to me as 
such, except it be to a true and lawful brother, or within the 
body of a just and regular lodge, him or them whom I shall thus 
find to be, after strict trial and due examination. 

I furthermore promise and swear that I will not write them, 
print them, stamp them, stain them, cut them, carve them, mark 
them, work or engrave them, nor cause them so to be done, upon 
any thing movable or immovable under the canopy of heaven, 
capable of bearing the least visible sign, mark, character or 
letter, whereby the mysteries of Masonry may be illegally 

All this I solemnly and sincerely swear, with a full and hearty 
resolution to perform the same, without any evasion, equivoca- 


tion or mental reservation, under no less penalty than to have 
my throat cut across from ear to ear, my tongue plucked out by 
the roots, and buried in the rough sands of the sea, a cable's 
length from shore, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in 
twenty-four hours. So help me God, and keep me steadfast in 
this my obligation of an Entered Apprentice. K. once— [kiss 
the Bible once.] 


I, A. B., do, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of 
God, and this right worshipful lodge, erected to God, and dedi- 
cated to holy St. John, hereby and hereon most solemnly and 
sincerely promise and swear that I will always hail, forever 
conceal, and never reveal, any of the secret part or parts, mystery 
or mysteries, of a Fellow Craft to an Entered Apprentice ; nor 
the part of an Entered Apprentice, or either of them, to any 
other person in the world, except it be to those to whom the 
same shall justly and legally belong. ) 

I furthermore promise and swear that I will relieve all poor 
and indigent brethren, as far as their necessities require, and my 
ability will permit 

I furthermore promise and swear that I will obey all true 
signs, tokens, and summonses, sent me by the hand of a Fellow 
Crafl, or from the door of a just and regular Fellow Craft's 
lodge, if within the length of my c^le of tow. 

All this I solemnly and sincerely swear, with a ftiU and hearty 
resolution to perform the same, without any evasion, equivocar 
tion or mental reservation, under no less penalty than to have my 
heart taken from under my naked left breast, and carried to the 
valley of Jehosaphat, there to be thrown into the fields to become 
a prey to the wolves of the desert, and the vultures of the air. 
So help me God, dtc. Kiss [the Bible] twice. 


I, A. B., do, of my own free will and accord, in the presence 
of God, and of this right worshipful lodge, erected to God, and 
dedicated to holy St. John, hereby and hereon most solemnly 
and sincerely promise and swear, that I will always hail, forever 
conceal, and never reveal, the secret part or parts, mystery or 


mysteries, of a Master Mason to a Fellow Craft, or those of a 
Fellow Craft to an Entered Apprentice, or them or either of 
them to any other person in the world, except it be to those to 
whom the same shall justly and legally belong. 

I furthermore promise and swear that I will not be present at 
the making of a Mason of a woman, of a madman, or of a fool ; 
that I will not defraud a brother knowingly or willingly ; that I 
will not give the Master's words above breath, nor then except 
within the five points of fellowship ; — that I will not violate the 
chastity of a Mason's wife or daughter, knowing them to be 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will attend a brother 
barefoot, if necessity requires, to warn him of approaching 
danger ; that on my knees I will remember him in my prayers ; 
that I will take him by the right hand and support him with the 
left in all his just and lawful undertakings ; that I will keep 
his secrets as safely deposited in my breast as they are in his 
own, treason and murder only excepted and those at my option ; 
that I will obey all true signs, tokens, and summonses, sent me 
by the hand of a Master Mason, or from the door of a just and 
regular Master Mason's lodge, if within the length of my cable 

All this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, 
with a fall and hearty resolution to perform the same, without 
any evasion, equivocation or mental reservation, under no less 
penalty than to have my body cut across, my bowels taken out 
and burnt to ashes, and those ashes scattered to the four winds 
of heaven ; to have my body dissected into four equal parts, and 
those parts hung on the cardinal points of the compass, there to 
hang and remain as a terror to all those, who shall presume 
to violate the sacred obligation of ^ Master Mason. Kiss [the 
Bible] thrice. 

These three penalties, the Master of the Lodge, immediately 
after administering this oath to the recipient Master Mason, 
declares to him, were executed upon the three Tyrian Fellow 
Crafts, at the building of Solomon's temple, and have ever since 
remained the standing penalties in the three first degrees of 


The following form of the Royal Arch Oath, and that of the 
Knight Templar, are taken from the Boston edition of Averj 
Allyn's Ritual of Freemasonry, printed in 1831, pp. 143, 236. 


I, A. B., of my own free will and accord, in presence of 
Almighty God, and this Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, erected 
to God, and ' dedicated tu Zerubhabel, do hereby and hereon, 
most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, in addition to 
my former obligations, that I will not reveal the secrets of this 
degree to any of an inferior degree, nor to any being in the 
known world, except it be to a true and lawful companion royal 
arch Mason, or within the body of a just and legally constituted 
chapter of such; and never unto him, or them, whom I shall 
hear so to be, but unto him and them only whom I shall find so 
to be, afler strict trial and due examination, or lawful informa- 
tion given. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not wrong this 
chapter of royal arch Masons, or a companion of this degree, out 
of the value of any thing, myself, or suffer it to be done by 
others, if in my power to prevent it. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that T will not reveal the 
key to the ineffable characters of this degree, nor retain it in 
my possession, but will destroy it whenever it comes to my sight. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not speak the 
grand omnific royal arch word, which I shall hereafter receive, 
in any manner, except in that in which I shall receive it, which 
will be in the presence of three companion royal arch Masons, 
myself making one of the number ; and then by three times 
three^ under a living arch, and at low breath. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not be at the ex- 
altation of candidates in a clandestine chapter, nor converse 
upon the secrets of this degree with a clandestine made Mason, 
or with one who has been expelled or suspended, while under 
that sentence. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not assist, or be 
present at the exaltation of a candidate to this degree, who has 
not received the degrees of entered apprentice, fellow crafl, 


master maaon, mark master, past master, and most excellent 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not be at the ex- 
altation of mare or less than three candidates, at one and the 
same time. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not be at the 
forming or opening of a chapter of royal arch Masons, unless 
there be present nine regular royal arch Masons, myself making 
one of that number. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not speak evil of 
a companion royal arch Mason, behind his back, nor before his 
face, but will apprise him of all approaching danger, if in my 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will support the con- 
stitution of the general grand royal arch chapter of the United 
States of America ; together with that of the grand chapter of 
this state, under which this chapter is holden ; that I will stand 
to, and abide by all the by-laws, rules, and regulations of this 
chapter, or of any other chapter of which I may hereafter be- 
come a member. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will answer and obey 
all due signs and summons, handed, sent, or thrown to me from 
a chapter of royal arch Masons, or from a companion royal arch 
Mason, if within the length of ray cable-tow. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will not strike a com- 
panion royal arch Mason, so as to draw his blood in anger. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that / mil employ a com^ 
panion royal arch Mason, in preference to any other person, of 
equal qualifications. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will assist a compan- 
ion royal arch Mason, when I see him engaged in any difficulty, 
and will espouse his cause so far as to extricate him from the 
same, whether he be RIGHT or WRONG. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will keep all the se- 
crets of a companion royal arch Mason (when communicated to 
me as such, or I knowing them to be such,) without exceptions. 

I furthermore promise and swear, that I will be aiding and 
assisting all poor and indigent companion royal arch Masons, 
their widows and . orphans, wheresoever dispersed around the 


globe ; they making application to me as such, and I finding 
them worthy, and can do it without any material injury to my- 
self or family. To all which I do most solemnly, and sincerely 
promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast resolution to keep 
and perform the same without any equivocation, mental reserva- 
tion, or self-evasion of mind in me whatever ; binding myself 
under no less penalty, than to have my skull smote off, and my 
brains exposed to the scorching rays of the meridian sun, should 
I knowingly or wilfully violate, or transgress any part of this my 
solemn oath or obligation of a royal arch Mason. So help me 
God, and keep me steadfast in the due performance of the same. 
[Kissing the book seven times.] 

KNIOUT templar's OATH. 

I, A. B., of my own free will and accord, in the presence of 
Almighty God, and this encampment of knight templars, do 
hereby and hereon most solemnly promise and swear that I will 
always hail, forever conceal and never reveal, any of the secret 
arts, parts or points appertaining to the mysteries of this order 
of knight templars, unless it be to a true and lawful companion 
sir knight, or within the body of a just and lawful encampment 
of such ; and not unto him, or them, until by due trial, strict 
examination, or lawful information, I find him or them lawfully 
entitled to receive the same. 

Furthermore do I promise and swear, that I will answer and 
obey all due signs and regular summons which shall be given 
or sent to me fi-om a regular encampment of knights templars, 
if within the distance of forty miles, natural infirmities and un- 
avoidable accidents only excusing me. 

Furthermore do I promise and swear, that I will help, aid and 
assist with my counsel, my purse, and my sword, ail poor and 
indigent knight templars, their widows and orphans, they making 
application to me as such, and I finding them worthy, so far as 
I can do it without material injury to myself, and so far as truth, 
honor, and justice may warrant. 

Furthermore do I promise and swear, that I will not assist, or 
be present, at the forming and opening of an encampment of 
knights templars, unless there be present seven knights of the 
order, or the representatives of three different encampments, 
acting under the sanction of a legal warrant. 


Farthermore do I promise and swear, that I will go the dis- 
tance of forty miles, even barefoot and on frosty ground, to save 
the life, and relieve the necessities of a worthy knight, should I 
know that his necessities required it, and my abilities permit. 

Furthermore do I promise and swear, that / toill wield my 
sword in the defence of innocent maidens, destitute widows, help" 
less orphans, and the Christian religion. 

Furthermore do I promise and swear, that I will support and 
maintain the by-laws of the encampment of which I may here- 
after become a member, the edicts and regulations of the grand 
encampment of the United States of America, so far as the 
same shall come to my knowledge ; to all this I most solemnly 
and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steady resolu- 
tion to perform and keep the same, without any hesitation, 
equivocation, mental reservation or self-evasion of mind in me 
whatever ; binding myself under no less penalty than to have 
my head struck off and placed on the highest spire in Christen- 
dom, should I knowingly or willingly violate any part of this my 
solemn obligation of a knight templar. So help me God, and 
keep me steadfast to perform and keep the same. [He kisses the 


This part of the ceremony attending the creation of the 
Knight Templar is deemed interesting in connection with the 

Address of the Master, 

Pilgrim, the fifth libation is taken in a very solemn way. It 
is emblematical of the bitter cup of death, of which we must 
all, sooner or later, taste ; and even the Saviour of the world 
was not exempted, notwithstanding his repeated prayers and so- 
licitations. It is taken of pure wine, and from this cup. [Ex- 
hibiting a human skull, he pours the wine into it and says,] To 
show you that we here practice no imposition, I give you this 
pledge. [Drinks from the skull.] He then pours more wine 
into the skull, and presents it to the candidate, telling him, that 
the Jifth libation is called the sealed obligation, as it is to seal 
all his former engagements in Masonry. 


If the candidate consents to proceed, he takes the skull in his 
hand, and repeats after the most eminent, as follows : 

This pure wine, I take from this cup, in testimony of my be- 
lief of the mortality of the body and the immortality of the soul ; 
and as the sins of the whole world were laid upon the head of 
our Saviour, so may the sins of the person whose skull this once 
was, be heaped upon my head, m addition to my own ; and may 
they appear in judgment against me, both here and hereafter, 
should I violate or transgress any obligation in Masonry, or the 
orders of knighthood which I have heretofore taken, take at this 
time, or may hereafler be instructed in. So help me God. 
[Drinks of the wine.] 

The following extracts are referred to in Mr. Adams's fourth, 
letter to Mr. Livingston, page 158. 

Extracts from the Report made to the General Assembly of the Slate of 
Louisiana on the Plan of a Penal Code for the said State. By Edward 

" Legislators, in all ages and in every country, have, at times, 
endangered the lives, the liberties, and fortunes of the people by 
inconsistent provisions, cruel or disproportioned punish- 
ments, and a legislation weak and wavering." 

" Executions [in England] for some crimes were attended with 
butchery that would disgust a savage." 

" Acknowledged truths in politics and jurisprudence can never 
be too oden repeated." 

•* Publicity is an object of such importance in free govern- 
ments, that it not only ought to be permitted, but must be 
secured by a species of compulsion." 

" If he [the culprit] be guilty, the state has an interest in his 
conviction ; and whether guilty or innocent, it has a higher 
interest that the fact should be fairly canvassed before judges 
inaccessible to influence and unbiassed by any false 
VIEWS of official duty," 


** It is not true therefore to say, that the laws do enough, when 
they give the choice (even supposing it could be made with 
deliberation) between a fair and impartial trial and one that is 
liable to the strongest objections. They must do more, they 
must restrict that choice, so as not to suffer an ill-advised 
individual to degrade them into instruments of ruin, though it 
should be voluntarily inflicted, or of death, though that death 
should be suicide." 

« The English mangle the renains of the dead [by suicide.] 
The inanimate body feels neither the ignominy nor pains. The 
mind of the innocent survivor alone is lacerated by this useless 
AND SAVAGE BUTCHERY, and the disgrace of the execution is felt 
exclusively by him, although it ought to fall on the laws which \ 

inflict it." I 

** The law punishes, not to avenge, but to prevent crimes. | 

No punishments, greater than are necessary to effect this work 
of prevention, let us remember, ought to be inflicted.'' 

" Although the dislocation of the joints is no longer considered 
as the best mode of ascertaining innocence or discovering guilt ; 
although offences against the Deity are no longer expiated by the 
burning fagot ; or those against the majesty of kings, avenged by 
the hot pincers and the rack and the wheel ; still many other 
modes of punishment have their advocates, which, if not equally 
cruel, are quite as inconsistent with the true maxims of penal 

" As to the authority of great names, it loses much of its force, 
since the mass of the people have begun to think for them- 

" Where laws are so directly at war with the feelings of the 
people whom they govern, as this, and many other instances 
prove them to be, these laws can never be wise or operative, and 


Extracts from dUaeked parts of ths projected Code. 

"No act of legislation can be, or ought to be, immutable." 
** Vengeance is unknown to the laws. The only object of 
punishment is to prevent the commission of offences." 

'* Penal laws should be written in plain language, clearly and 


unequivocally expressed, that they may neither be miminder- 
stood nor perverted." 

" The law should never command more than it can enforce. 
Therefore, whenever, from public opinion or any other oause, a 
penal law cannot be carried into execution, it should be re- 

*'The legislature alone has a right to declare what shall consti-< 
tute an offence." 


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